In what it says is a reaction to Apple's growing footprint in portable gaming, the Wall Street Journal
reports that Sony is prepping a 2010 launch of a smartphone and an iPad
competitor -- said to be "a portable device that blurs distinctions among a netbook, an e-reader and a PlayStation Portable" -- both capable of running PS1 games. The paper cites "people familiar with the matter" as its sources, which have also told it that the devices will work with Sony's iTunes Store challenger, the Sony Online Service
, that launches this month.
The WSJ also reports that the phone is being developed in conjunction with Sony Ericsson, with Sony proper being much more involved in the design of the device over past projects, due to the company's growing focus on smartphones and other mobile platforms. Development is said to be under the direction of Senior Vice President Kunimasa Suzuki, who acts as a deputy to PlayStation boss Kaz Hirai in Sony's gaming and Network Products & Services divisions.
Of course, this isn't the first time we've heard talk of a fabled "PlayStation Phone
," and likely won't be the last -- hopefully the next time there's news, it will come in the form of an official product announcement by Sony.