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Zeus Z1 + PSPhone + Xperia Play = The Playstation Phone

December 27, 2010 1 comment

Rumors for the Playstation Phone have been circulating since I purchased my first generation PSP back in March of 2005. The idea of having a cell phone spliced with a beautifully crafted handheld gaming system was unreal, the object of dreams. Speculation flowed through the PSP forums: “When will the PSPhone come out?” “Surely Sony will realize the potential of the Playstation Phone.” A year later supposed blueprints, concept illustrations and patents were published online, but these seem closer to what appears to be the PSP2 (a touchscreen, gamepadded beast). This rekindled the flame for debate and discussion. Jump ahead another year to the release of Apple’s fantastic iPhone. The mythical be-all-end-all device that opened up the realm of possibility in the smartphone market. An MP3-player behemoth and computer-crafting underdog decided to create their own cell phone. It was a huge step forward. This rekindled discussion and speculation once more. Now jump ahead to August 11, 2010 to a headline posted as Exclusive: Sony Ericsson to introduce Android 3.0 gaming platform and PSP Go-like smartphone on Engadget. The article began with the illustration featured at left. It also began with this paragraph: There’s no question that gaming on the Android platform has heretofore been relatively underwhelming, but that looks like it’s all about to change. It seems that Sony Ericsson — a company that has yet to even introduce an Android 2.0 device — is at work on a project to redefine gaming on Google’s mobile platform. We now know (via a trusted source) that the company is actively and heavily developing a brand new gaming platform, ecosystem, and device (possibly alongside Google) which are already in the late stages of planning. And we’ve got the goods on it. And boy was the author, Joshua Topolsky, right on. He hit all of the features that have surfaced on physical prototypes of the device in the last few months… nearly down to a T 3/4 months prior to seeing it. He must have had one freakin’ good source.

The device was described as a cross between Samsung’s Captivate and the PSP Go and the feature list looked like this:

… it’s a landscape slider with game controls in place of the typical QWERTY keyboard. The D-pad is here, but instead of the small joystick, the device will have what was described as a “long touch pad” for analog controls, along with standard PSP buttons and shoulder buttons. The phone has a large display, described as being between 3.7 and 4.1 inches with WVGA or better resolution, a 5 megapixel camera that we’re told might not be final, and it’ll likely have a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU on board. The phone is mostly black with some silver highlights, and the gamepad area is white / silver in color. Apparently it’s currently branded as a Xperia device, but it looks like it will carry PlayStation branding as well. Those who’ve seen the phone say it looks “pretty damn sexy.”

The article went on to say that the Playstation Phone would run Gingerbread Android 3.0 (which we now know is actually 2.3) with a phone-specific skin and allow access to a section of the Android Marketplace that only the halo device would be allowed to view. This secret section would include true 3D games that focus on older PSX titles and newer PSP titles like God of War and LittleBigPlanet. Mr. Topolsky concludes the article establishing credibility –

It makes perfect sense in a way — Google gets a much-needed push into the gaming and entertainment space for Android, while Sony (via its partnership with Ericsson) finally delivers the PlayStation phone users have been wanting. We see it as a major win for both companies and the consumer…

This made everyone go crazy. Finally the device that everyone has been fantasizing about was becoming reality. The news feed soon became quiet. No major news of the coveted Playstation Phone had reached the surface of the world wide web until Mr. Topolsky wrote once again on Engadget. This time the date stamp was October 27, 2010 and the headline reassured us that The Playstation Phone is still real. In this article, he dismissed the accusations that the photos Engadget had posted were fake, stating that they were “most definitely real.” He went on to say that the device had been confirmed by multiple, trusted sources and that they had uncovered even more information. The device had been dubbed the Zeus. Included was a photo/illustration comparison between the concept sketch done back in August and a photo of the actual device.


The article concluded with an explanation of why many doubters labeled the Zeus as fake –

The alleged Sony response to the device makes that somewhat clear — reports state that an employee originally told a publication that the images were fake, only to backtrack and deliver the standard corporate line that the company “doesn’t respond to rumor and speculation.”

Simply put, the person questioned either didn’t actually know of the device’s existence, lied about its existence or simply had taken information out of context. And in response to this, Mr. Topolsky reminded the reader of the fact that Engadget had delivered the first legitimate photos of the Nexus One, the Macbook Air, the iPad and the iPhone 4. That’s right Joshua, you tell them what’s up. Here are thumbnails of the photos that they leaked to the public (to see them bigger, simply click on them):

Two days later Topolsky released another article stating that the software on the device varies with whichever prototype previewers get their hands on. Some actually have Android 3.0 (which we now know as Honeycomb), while most have Froyo and a scattering have 2.3, or Gingerbread. He also revealed more details:

  1. Appears to have an 8GB microSD card slotted
  2. At least 512 MB of internal storage (possibly 1 GB)
  3. The device is roughly 17mm thick, or the same size as a PSP Go
  4. The device contains a smoky chrome bezel which is more Blackberry-like than Sony Ericsson-esque

On December 3, Paul Miller posts (once again on Engadget) Playstation Phone ‘Zeus Z1’ caught on video.. this time the device is not captured on blurry film or in any sketch screen shots. The article here contains 2 videos. One of them allows you to see the Zeus Z1 in all of its chunky glory and lets us catch a glimpse of the Playstation icon. An update to the article actually shows the Playstation app being accessed and navigated through. There should be no doubt after watching these videos – this is THE Playstation Phone and it is epic.

The last article of interest that has been posted, is, once again on Engadget, and is by a new author. Nilay Patel writes Sony Ericsson Phone to be called ‘Xperia Play’? She reports that Sony Ericsson UE has trademarked registration for “Xperia Play” and a Sony Ericsson PR firm has registered a variety of Xperia domain names including Xperiaplay.com, .net and .org. She concludes with

Yes, that certainly sounds like a promising name for the PlayStation Phone (although not quite as promising as, you know, “PlayStation Phone,”) but honestly we wouldn’t bet on anything at this point.

So that’s all you need to know up to this point about the mythical Playstation Phone, but only more is yet to be discovered. Hopefully it all will be revealed at the CES 2011 next week or at the MWC in February.

[Sources: Engadget]

UPDATE 1/5 Engadget has gotten a new batch of photos that have the Playstation and Xperia logos along the bottom of the phone. Things are becoming more and more solidified.

Android Update

December 26, 2010 Leave a comment

It seems that Android-based news is released by the hour, so here is a simple compilation of the most valid news releases in the past week 12/19 to today, 12/26 to help keep you up-to-date.

Software Updates

  • A moderator on the LG Forum made an official statement regarding the 2.2 Froyo upgrade: the LG Ally will receive the update in February.

Android Central reports that Verizon may be expecting to get Froyo on Samsung's Fascinate by year's end, supported by an internal specs comparison sheet

Samsung UK tweets:

We have good news for the festive season; 2.2 is now available for the Galaxy S on all networks.

  • Slashgear reports that Google is sending out emails revealing that the Google TV update that has been talked about over the last week is now ready for release including the following features:

1. Netflix – A totally revamped UI for Netflix on Google TV makes it easier to browse and watch movies and TV shows in Netflix’s streaming catalogue.
2. Dual View – Watch TV and the use the web how you want, now that you can resize your screens and move them around to your liking.
3. Remote Control App – Starting today you can use your Android phone as a TV remote. Even change the channel with your voice. Find ‘Google TV Remote’ in Android Market.
4. Movie Results – Find the movie you want to watch in the our new movie search results page. Finds movies that are on TV, the web, Netflix, and Amazon VOD.

  • Android Community reports that the first over the air update for the Nexus S was available just six days after its initial release that fixes various bugs and upgrades the Maps application
  • Phone Arena reports that the Epic 4G has gotten the Froyo update

 

Google’s Nexus Twitter account reassures Nexus One owners that 2.3 Gingerbread will be available over the air in the coming weeks
  • Slashgear reports Barnes & Noble’s NOOKcolor got a firmware update to 1.0.1 which includes improved wi-fi connectivity and browser experience as well as some minor bug fixes
  • Android Community reports that Vodafone’s HTC Wildfire now has Froyo update available

Handheld Releases

  • Android Police reports that the HTC EVO Shift 4G appeared in Best Buy’s system at a very reasonable $150 with contract and a hefty $550 without
  • Euro Droid reports the arrival of red and black models of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 to Virgin Mobile in January

Engadget reports that the Dell Venue was released in Hong Kong... soon to reach South Korean markets

Pantech has unveiled a new device called the Vega Express. The handheld will be packing DDR2 RAM... the same chips that go into laptops and desktop computers!