Sony heads into battle to win back gamers on the go

 

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The Independent Online

Sony's latest attempt to take on Nintendo and smartphones in the handheld gaming market will come to Europe in February.

The PlayStation Vita, the follow up to the PSP launched in 2004, will hit Japan in December, before being launched in Europe and the US two months later.

Jack Tretton, Sony Computer Entertainment's president and chief executive, announced the news at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, saying it would "blur the lines between entertainment and reality".

Alongside the usual Sony buttons, controls and analogue sticks, the handheld will have a touchscreen, front and back cameras and a touch-sensitive pad on the back.

Mr Tretton said: "PS Vita will deliver rich, immersive games with stunning graphics, which simply can't be found anywhere else." A WiFi and 3G device will be available for £279.99, as well as a cheaper WiFi-only version, priced at £229.99.

The Vita will take on Nintendo's 3DS, a handheld that offers 3D viewing without the need for special glasses. Yet, Nintendo was forced to slash prices on the device earlier this year to boost flagging sales.

It will also face increasing competition from games applications on the iPhone and Android phones as well as tablet devices such as the iPad. However, Mr Tretton said: "The advent of smartphone gaming is quite additive to what we're trying to accomplish."

He said studios and an "army" of publishing partners have been working on a "vast library of titles" for its launch. More than 100 games are currently in development, including Assassin's Creed, Fifa and Call of Duty.

The handheld console will also allow users to use services including Skype or social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.

Motorola goes back to the future with Droid Razr

Motorola, the mobile phone maker recently bought by Google, has launched its latest assault on the hugely competitive smartphone market with a nod to one of its most successful range of handsets. Motorola first released the Razr in 2004, and its clamshell design proved a hit, selling 50 million within two years.

The updated device for the smartphone generation – dubbed the Droid Razr – which was announced in Berlin yesterday, will be available in Europe from next month.

Nick Clark

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