Sony Ericsson patent goes for gaming phone

Posted by Mark Raby

Alexandria (VA) - Sony's mobile phone division is apparently looking at a gaming-centric phone, a market that so far has had a history of failure.

A patent from late last year shows a device that looks something like a PSP retooled to work as a mobile phone.  The screen on the candy bar style phone can flip 90 degrees to make it look more like a slim PDA.  Or, the phone can be turned horizontally to have a landscape mode screen orientation and a control set much like a handheld gaming device.

It's a risky move for Sony, a company that's already facing setbacks from a rocky start with the PS3.  Nokia lost millions of dollars on its ambitious N-Gage gaming phone project.  A similar handset from Samsung never even made it to the states, in spite of initial plans to do so.  The mobile gaming market as a whole also is still struggling to achieve universal standards, with different programming languages and unclear system specifications causing confusion for consumers.

Sony Ericsson's patent shows a couple things that offer better functionality than the gaming phones of the past.  For example, instead of automatically exiting the game, an incoming call would just cause a dialog box to pop up on the screen, allowing uninterrupted play.

Sony Ericsson is currently the fourth largest cell phone manufacturer, claiming around 8% of the global market share.