The Wireless Event: BT and Sony turn PSP into multimedia phone

BT and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) have teamed up to turn the latter's popular games console the PlayStation Portable (PSP) into a fully-functional multimedia phone that is likely give Apple's iPhone a run for its money.

UK users will be the first to benefit from the fruits of the new partnership later this year, according to Steve Andrews, BT group chief of mobility and convergence and chairman of the Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance (FMCA), who announced the deal this morning during his keynote speech at the Mobile Broadband Congress, which is part of The Wireless Event being held at London's Olympia this week.

The two companies have signed a four-year contract to develop a host of new capabilities - powered by BT's 21st century network (21CN) - that will transform the PSP from a gaming device into a handheld that enables voice and video calls and messaging as well as wireless broadband connectivity.

"We are working with Sony to enable the PSP to have all the communications capabilities you can imagine," said Andrews.

"This device is already in the hands of eight million people in Europe and 24 million in Europe and we believe, together with Sony, that this is just the start."

Andrews wouldn't be drawn on pricing for the new offering, nor would he commit to an exact launch date.

"I want to surprise the market rather than being chased up as to where it is and what is happening," he said. "If you've got a PSP you will want this."

Sony is equally as enthused about working with BT on the new innovation. "It is very exciting for us to be partnering with BT on such a unique project," said David Reeves, president of SCEE in a statement following the announcement.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.