PSP Phone could be an iPhone killer

PSP Phone - real or fake, the concept it interesting
PSP Phone - real or fake, the concept it interesting

When, exactly, did iPhone missionaries get quite so uppity about gaming?

Breathe deep, those who dream of Angry Birds: gaming was an afterthought for Jobs.

Moreover, if gaming's the thing you bought Apple's pocket wonder for – and these poor, confused souls multiply with each passing day - you're an afterthought.

Steve Jobs' pavement acolytes have every right to brag about touch-screen functionality, the birth of the App - and the best, most accessible music system since the CD player. Apple's competitors are consistently struggling – and failing – to emulate all three.

Not a clue

But let's not kid ourselves. Apple didn't have a clue about handheld gaming when it launched the iPhone in 2007.

However, in a sudden adjustment that suggests Apple's advisors are every bit as alive to 'trends' as its stupidly-coiffed core adopters, this blind foolishness didn't last long.

Apple spotted that Nintendo was changing the gaming landscape by courting a 'mainstream' audience of mums and grans; people who previously saw video games as 'those nasty things, with guns and green blood everywhere'. It also spotted that the Japanese giant was making some serious coin.

Market research

No doubt, Apple's sharp-as-a-tack market research told it that it had on its hands an open-platform games console enjoying mass adoption on a scale never seen before.

By mid-2008, Apple was courting games developers and major publishers, and by 2009, gaming was the centrepiece of Apple's conferences - and the firm's suits were declaring that the age of the PSP and DS was over.

I'll say it again: Afterthought.

PSP Phone

What exactly does all this have to do with the new PlayStation Phone? It's those darn 'trends' again.

Apple has placed video games in the hands – and the affections – of people who previously saw them as kids' stuff, but now those adopters are starting to ask: "Isn't there anything better than this?"

And, just like it was watched by other gaming brands, Apple is watching Sony answer the call.

Nintendo is in the painful position of witnessing the gamers it created with Wii and DS migrate to PS3 – many tempted by Sony's super-accurate Move peripheral and HD graphics. (You can always spot them in Curry's. They're the ones saying: "It's just so realistic!")

These people used to look down their noses at gaming, but now they love it - and unlike the jaded, cynical hardcore types, they don't give a stuff what CTF, quickscoping or 'noobs' are – they just want to gobble up as much of it as they can.

Apple's iPhone audience is moving in the same direction. Out of nowhere, gaming has become a priority for them, especially on the way to work. Apple created that fact.

Sony might be about to reap all the benefits – especially, I'll stick my neck out and estimate, when it comes to men who've rediscovered the joys of socially-acceptable video gaming for the first time since they were a teen.

Seriously impressive gaming

Sure, Cut The Rope is a lot of fun - but it's not Wipeout. Flick Kick is ace - but it's not FIFA 11. Wolfenstein 3D is a classic - but it's not Killzone.

If the specs of the alleged PlayStation Phone in today's Engadget report are true, it boasts a 1GHz Qualcomm processor, 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and a screen between 3.7 and 4.1 inches. You could create some seriously impressive video games with that tech, and it promises to deliver a real blow to the Apple phenomenon.

Turns out it's an established expert in video games- not iPhone 4 - that looks most likely to 'change everything, again'.

Tim Ingham is the editor of

TechRadar Phone editor Gareth Beavis disagrees with Tim - comparing the PSP Phone to the old Nokia N-Gage.