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Feb 23 / kkrizka

PSP Phone = PSP + iPhone

Yesterday I blogged about one of the speculated designs for the rumoured PlayStation Portable cell phone, and my conclusion was that it wouldn’t fly because of the placement of the buttons. That got me thinking, how would I design a PSP Phone? After a short while, I came up with a simple answer of a doable design; a combination of PSP, iPhone and a bit of sliding. I’ll start with the requirements I think it has to fulfill, and then describe my design and how it fulfills them it in the rest of this post. Sadly due to my low artistic skill, I am not able to provide a graphical mock-up. However you are free to sketch it out yourself and publish it on a forum. :)

First of all, we should look at the physical requirements and constraints of a PSP Phone.

  1. Has to be portable. Cell phones have to be small and possible to fit into a pocket, so the surface area will limit the size of the screen and the buttons. Most likely the UMD drive will have to be ditched too.
  2. Has to look professional. You wouldn’t carry around that looks like a child’s toy, would you?
  3. Has to be durable. The unit will be under a lot of physical stress during gaming, and it has to vistand.
  4. Has to be playable. A PSP Phone should have a focus on game playing, because without it, it would just be a normal phone.

Of course we will have to sacrifice some needs to full fill others. For example, the small size means that the buttons will be much smaller and closer together. Also the screen will be much smaller, but I think that will still be able to get a lot out of it.

Let’s start by defining the game playing functionality, for which we’ll need a screen and the normal PSP buttons. I think that the screen should cover the entire front side of the phone. Why? Well, that way we would get the maximum screen side available. Now we need to add the buttons somewhere, and for that I would propose the idea that has been suggested by spiritofcat in the comments of another mockup. Why not have the buttons slide out from the side when you want to play a game? That will fulfill two of the requirements: portability and professionalism. With the buttons hidden, your cell phone will not look like a gaming device and you will be able to use it in serious places without being embarrassed. Also with the buttons nicely tucked away inside, they do not take any extra space.

The next part is to position the dailing buttons, after all it is a cell phone. We cannot hide them inside the unit as in the last design, because the space is now taken up by the gaming buttons. So we could take a leaf out of Apple’s book and copy the iPhone by making the screen a touchscreen. Not only this would allow for better cell phone interface and a keyboard, but also better games.

You might be also wondering why not also place the gaming buttons onto the touch screen. Well, I have two reasons why that would be a good idea. (1) The buttons would take up valuable screen estate, so one might as well make the screen smaller and use normal buttons on the side. (2) It wouldn’t be very durable, and thus fail the third requirement. A gamer usually hits the buttons fast and hard, something that I would not want try on a touch screen.

That in short is my design. I think it is quite ideal for both a mobile phone and a gaming device. It is comfortable to play with, professional looking and very portable. So what do you think?

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