Report: Sony cooking up new smartphone to challenge Apple

Sony is developing a new smartphone with Sony Ericsson that will be capable of playing PlayStation games, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The report, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said Sony is taking a more active role in crafting handsets in its joint venture with Ericsson, signifying how important mobile phones are becoming to Sony.

The report also said Sony is working on a device that "blurs distinctions among a netbook, an ereader and a PlayStation Portable, or PSP," and is meant to challenge Apple's iPad. Both devices are expected to be launched this year and will have access to Sony's online media service, which is being billed as challenger to Apple's iTunes store. A Sony spokeswoman declined to comment to the WSJ on the topic.

A Sony Ericsson spokesman told FierceWireless that Sony Ericsson is "continuously evolving the collaboration" with both Sony and Ericsson "with a clear strategy to work even closer going forward."

"This includes evaluating exciting new propositions for the end consumer," the spokesman said. "However, it is not our strategy to discuss future products before we make a formal press announcement. Any media report that suggests details regarding future collaboration between us and our parent companies, as well as future products, is based on speculation."

Sony Ericsson had a dismal 2009, with handset sales falling by 41 percent. The company posted its sixth straight quarterly loss in January. The firm has been banking its return to profitability on its new lineup of phones based on Google's Android platform. The company will release the flagship product of the new family of devices, the Xperia X10, in April.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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