Sony’s upcoming PlayStation Vita portable gaming device will feature built-in 3G (in one model), and the ability to make phone calls using Skype — but don’t call it a smartphone.
The Vita is first and foremost a gaming device, but Sony’s need to compete with smartphones and popular apps is beginning to show. The company announced today that the device will feature Skype, for making free calls to other Skype users and to phone lines, and Foursquare support for check-ins.
In a blog post today, Skype only mentioned voice call capabilities in the Vita, even though the device sports front and rear cameras for video conferencing. Skype video chat will most likely be a feature coming down the line — it probably wasn’t feasible to implement at launch. Foursquare support seems more curious, since I would imagine most Vita users would already have a smartphone on-hand with the Foursquare app.
Sony announced earlier this month that the Vita won’t reach the US until early 2012. It will be available in two models: A $250 Wi-Fi only version, and a $300 version with 3G (which will be compatible with AT&T’s network). The Vita will sport a 5-inch touchscreen, six-axis motion sensing, as well as dual analog sticks.
Facebook and Skype features could make their way into Vita’s games, TechCrunch reports, which could make check-ins more relevant to the device (think virtual Foursquare check-ins for in-game locations). Taking another cue from modern smartphone gaming, Sony said today that all Vita games will be downloadable as well.