PSP phone rumors are ten a penny these days, so most of the time we don't bother to pay too much attention. This latest (made public today and unearthed by the folks at Unwired View), however, is based on a patent application that Sony filed back in 2006.
The application detailed a device with a full touchscreen (as in with no other interface method) that could emulate the fascia set-up of the PSP, complete with haptic tactile feedback to give the simulated buttons some definition during use.
The images clearly show how the screen could be converted for both phone and PSP use, though no word on how the PSP games would be delivered to the device is present in the patent.
Other details indicate that Sony Ericsson was thinking of making use of such a touchscreen-focused device to deliver unique Walkman, Cyber-shot and internet browsing interfaces to a mobile, too.
So effectively what we're talking about here is Sony Ericsson's take on the iPhone with a PSP thrown in.
What's particularly interesting is that the patent predates the iPhone patent being made public by one week, meaning the company had a chance at being remembered in history as launching a revolutionary touchscreen mobile phone before Apple. That's if it had bothered to go to market with the product, obviously.
We're guessing that the fruits of this patent are the Xperia X1 and the long time coming P5i, neither of which have any sort of PSP functionality. More smoke and mirrors, then, but it is encouraging to see how seriously Sony Ericsson has been considering a PSP phone.
Surely it's only a matter of time, don't you think?