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Sony preps PlayStation gaming for Android

Not one PlayStation Phone but many?

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Sony will bring PlayStation gaming to Android, the company announced this morning, firming up rumours and leaks that a future Sony Ericsson mobile will include gaming.

But its PlayStation Suite app is a long way from the all-in-one PlayStation Phone of rumour. Indeed, it's 'one app, many phones' emphasis counts against the appearance of such a device.

PlayStation Suite first appeared last week on gadget dubbed the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, as yet unlaunched but spotted anyway in China, where stuff that leaks out of Asian handset manufacturers tends to end up.

Sony this morning made the app official: it's an "entirely new initiative", said the Japanese giant, and "users will be able to enjoy PlayStation content on an open operating system for the first time in PlayStation history".

'Open OS' means Android. Stitch that, iOS.

The app will be released, and content will appear, though the PlayStation Store, "within this calendar year". Expect PSOne games first.

Think a 'console in an app' which vendors can deploy and which taps into the PlayStation Network much as other apps tap into Google Maps, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and other online services.

Like those other apps, PlayStation Suite will be open to almost any maker of networked devices. Sony will run a certification programme and give winning vendors a little sticker they can put on their phones.

It's a familiar notion: Nokia's N-Gage gaming handset and later multi-phone platform worked on similar lines. N-Gage flopped, but PlayStation Suite is a much stronger propostion: it has the PlayStation brand, it'll almost certainly have better, truly multi-player games, it's not tied to a single vendors' handsets, and today smartphones are far more commonplace than they were in 2003 when the first N-Gage appeared.

PlayStation Suite will also be a part of Sony's "Next Generation Platform", what the company is now dubbing the gadget that will succeed the PlayStation Portable. NGP will be networked, of course, and almost certainly that will mean cellular as well as Wi-Fi.

Maybe there is an opening for a PlayStation Phone after all. ®

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