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Sony staffing up for iPhone rival - report

Work could begin in July.

Sony is thinking about merging game and phone in an attempt to compete with Apple's wildly popular iPhone.

The company is gathering a team to tackle the task as soon as July, according to Japanese press giant Nikkei, picked up by Reuters. The hardware is described as a cross between the PSP and a Sony Ericsson mobile phone.

Sony Ericsson has combined famous Sony brands - Walkman, Cyber-shot - into mobile handsets before. Ericsson, however, was denied use of the PlayStation brand at the turn of the year, after much speculation of the existence of a crossover device. Sony deemed Ericsson's technology not powerful enough to do the PlayStation name justice.

Despite the snub, Sony Ericsson's new phone includes the ability to remotely control PlayStation 3, as well as support for PlayTV content.

Sony's emulation of - or reaction to - Apple's iPhone success may even go one step further, as the PlayStation maker is rumoured to be working on an App Store-style service for the PSPgo.

Sony has so far declined to comment.

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Robert Purchese

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Bertie is a synonym for Eurogamer. Writes, podcasts, looks after the Supporter Programme. Talks a lot.