Hours deep into an enthralling game of "God of War," will your focus and determination to win out be interrupted by the familiar beeping of a cell phone? This might already be the case for the technologically tuned-in gamer, but on the next generation of PlayStation Portables, you might just be hearing the ringtone coming directly from your PSP. It sounds like a great idea, with the PlayStation joining the mobile phone market, but how will it stack up against the big boys?
The PSP vs. the iPhone
Competing against mobile phones is certainly an unfamiliar direction for a gaming system to take, but as personal technology advances, more lines are blurred. You used to need separate devices - a compass and a telephone - to find north and talk to your sister, but now you can do both with a Palm Pre. Since you can already enjoy a number of applications and games on iPhones and iPod Touches, why doesn't a PSP Phone make sense?
Initially, the PSP might not stack up well against the iPhone: the iPhone already has brand loyalty and any loyal PSP gamers are likely to stick to their own brand. But you never know if PSP customers will abandon the iPhone once they find something that satisfies their trigger-happy thumbs.
The PSP vs. the iPod
It only takes a few gigabytes of music information to make the PSP an enthralling alternative to the iPod: not only would you enjoy the same kind of features you might find with your iPod, you'd get the added option of playing high-quality PlayStation games. There couldn't be a better device for children riding in the backseat on their way to the Grand Canyon. Any savvy technology analyst would have to take the PSP's expansion seriously, especially as other devices like the Palm Pre continually cut into Apple's lead on the mobile phone market.
Ultimately, the PSP Phone might be no more than an admittedly tantalizing option for hardcore gamers who want to keep their games as mobile as their communications. As for the average consumer, it might be hard to play "God of War" while you're listening to a song on the treadmill.