It's hard to believe that what we're looking at is real -- but we assure you, the picture above is in fact the PlayStation Phone you've long been waiting for. As we reported back in August, the device you see is headed into the market soon, likely boasting Android 3.0 (aka Gingerbread), along with a custom Sony Marketplace which will allow you to purchase and download games designed for the new platform. The device snapped up top (and in our gallery below) is sporting a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 (a chip similar to the one found in the G2, but 200MHz faster), 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and the screen is in the range of 3.7 to 4.1 inches. Looking almost identical to the mockup we hit you with this summer, the handset does indeed have a long touchpad in the center which is apparently multitouch, and you can see in the photos that it's still bearing those familiar PlayStation shoulder buttons. For Sony buffs, you'll be interested to know that there's no Memory Stick slot here, but there is support for microSD cards.
The particular model in these shots is still in prototyping mode. As such, the unit doesn't have a custom skin (not even SE's Timescape design seen on the Xperia devices), and is said to be rather buggy. We're digging into more facts as we speak, but it's likely that much of what we reported earlier is still accurate, and though the device could still be headed for a 2010 release, 2011 is looking much more realistic. Still, there's a lot of time between now and the holidays... so keep your fingers crossed!
Edit: Updated --
By now you've seen our photos of the PlayStation Phone, and likely you've also heard the scattered reports of debunkings and cries of "fake!" -- it wouldn't be a scoop without it. Only here's the thing: the PlayStation Phone in the photos we ran last night, and the device reported on back in August is most definitely real. We're not saying that because we want to believe or because we're gingerly trying to nab pageviews: we're saying it because we know it to be true. This is a device which has been confirmed through multiple, trusted sources. And we're not just talking good tipsters -- some of our information comes from people much more closely connected to the project. Even since last night we've received more info about the phone -- learning that its codename is "Zeus," and it was last seen running Android 2.X (not 3.0, which we suspect will be the shipping version). It should be obvious by comparison of our original mockup to the real photos we've just uncovered that the handset we described in August is the same handset now fully revealed. Prior to last night, we had never seen an actual image of the phone. It should also be obvious that the device pictured in those photos is a prototype running early software (which would explain the A / B button mention in the photo above) with hardware that was likely hand-built, or at the very least created in a very small batch.
Based on what we've heard about the secrecy of this plan, it makes sense that even Sony's own employees wouldn't be privy to information on the phone, the marketplace, and the collaboration with Google. The alleged Sony response to the device makes that somewhat clear -- reports state that an employee originally told a publication that the images were fake, only to backtrack and deliver the standard corporate line that the company "doesn't respond to rumor and speculation." It's possible that whomever was originally questioned either didn't know of the device's existence, was lying about its existence, or simply had their response taken out of context. And that brings us to our point -- while there will be plenty of speculation on whether or not what we've shown you is real, we would never run the images or the information without a healthy sense that we were bringing you fact, and not fiction. We don't like to boast, but as the guys and girls who brought you the first pictures and review of the Nexus One, the first details and images of the Dell Venue Pro (aka Lightning), the first pictures of the new MacBook Air, the first photos of the iPad, and the first photos of the iPhone 4, we feel pretty confident in our abilities to deliver the goods. Of course, this story is just beginning -- so hold on tight.