Sony Ericsson's rumored PlayStation phone was confirmed in major fashion today through a leak of prototype shots and according details. True to expectations, it will be a full touchscreen slider but with PSP Go-style PlayStation controls instead of a QWERTY keyboard; it would go so far as to have shoulder buttons. Engadget was told, however, that the pad in the middle is a multi-touch trackpad, most likely for gestures that would avoid disrupting the screen during gameplay.
Inside, it would have the same 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8655 as found in the HTC Desire HD and would be one of the fastest single-core phones as a result. 512MB of RAM and 1GB of ROM would be strictly on par, however. Not much is known about the camera on the back, but the phone should have a screen between 3.7 and 4.1 inches and a microSD card slot that would be essential for a game-centric device.
It was already known that the phone should ship with Gingerbread, now possibly called Android 2.3, and would have a special store just for Android games. At one point, it was suggested this would be a subsection of Android Market itself, but this wouldn't necessarily be the case. The unique control scheme would likely push Sony Ericsson to keep downloads separate and make it easy to discover apps designed for the full control scheme.
A launch now isn't likely until 2011. The prototype on show has been characterized as buggy and not even to the point where Sony might consider a custom skin, whether Timescape/Mediascape from the Xperia X10 or a PlayStation-oriented interface.
Sony is known to be eager to turn around its mobile gaming strategy as the PSP has been rapidly declining to the point of being a non-factor in mobile gaming. While it has been engaged in anti-iPhone ads and just this week slashed the PSP Go's price, Sony has not only been eclipsed by the also declining Nintendo DS but by the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple's devices have lacked hardware button controls ideal for certain kinds of games, but they have had more powerful hardware and support game genres that simply haven't been possible without a touchscreen. App Store games also usually cost $10 or less, a quarter of the price of a new PSP release.