I speculate that the Vita may be a huge deal. It is no accident that the Vita's UI, LiveArea, looks like a tablet/smartphone OS, and can be navigated by only the touchscreen. It *is* a tablet/smartphone OS. Sony is planning to spin LiveArea off onto its own devices as a standalone OS to challenge iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
1. It has the makings of a modern OS.
At version 1.6, LiveArea already has features that took Apple iOS until version 5 to develop, including apps (iOS 2), picture messaging (iOS3), multitasking (iOS4), notifications (iOS5), and file management. LiveArea will continue to be refined, and features will be added. With WebOS, iOS, and Android to copy from, it's in some ways in a better place than iOS, which was never designed with notifications or multitasking in mind.
They could add phone, texting, and email apps and plop LiveArea on a cell phone right now. Sony already has experience making custom operating systems for phones; they did it all the time back in the days of Sony Ericsson dumbphones. LiveArea is already more capable than those dumbphones ever were.
It is also fast and sleek, capable of smoothly jumping in and out of games and quickly launching and closing apps.
2. Sony is developing their own app/game store.
They're currently in the process of recruiting developers to the Playstation Suite, a virtual machine platform which runs on Playstation Certified devices (XPERIA PLAY, Tablet S, etc.). The Vita (and LiveArea) is in the process of becoming Suite-compatible, and Suite apps and games will become integrated into the PlayStation Network Store.
3. Hirai has pretty much admitted it.
4. Hirai is all about linking products together and stuff
5. Sony bought out Ericsson's share in the cellphone venture and now has complete control over doing whatever the hell they feel like with their phones.
6. Sony Tablets support DualShock controllers now apparently, so there is less of a control barrier.
I speculate that LiveArea will run on top of Sony Android devices before Sony makes the complete switch and starts running their own show. From my experience, most people want a tablet for "Internet and email and movies and stuff, maybe games" and a LiveArea-powered device could definitely do all that, especially when coupled with Sony's existing gaming hardware and their fleet of skilled developers. They might not have the 200,000 apps that iOS does, but they do have a massive software library of literally thousands of titles from PS1/PS2/PSP that they could push onto their Suite devices.
What do you think? I think it'd be exciting to see Sony start competing on a meaningful level again.
( Edited 14.02.2012 12:20 by keith )