Sony's Kaz Hirai talks up virtues of touch controls, weighs in on PlayStation phone

The PlayStation phone keeps popping up time and again, and still no one at Sony is going to flat-out admit anything -- but that hasn't stopped playful speculation. Even SCE chief Kaz Hirai is joining in the fun. "We don't want gamers to be asking, what's the difference between that [a PS phone] and a PSP... we have to come up with a message that users will understand," he told The New York Times. "It would have to be a product that keeps the PlayStation's strengths intact." So that's the issue, then, differentiating a new PSP and a variant with phone capabilities -- nothing a good marketing campaign can't fix, if you ask us.

But enough about the phone, what of the PlayStation's portable brand in general? Hirai seems to fancy touch controls, actually. "Depending on the game, there are ones where you can play perfectly well with a touch panel," he said, adding that "immersive games" -- the ones he think are Sony's focus, vs. the more casual fare offered by Apple and Android -- do well with physical buttons, and that some games work well with the two. We can't help but notice he said touch panel and not touch screen, which reminds us of the touchpad we saw on the PS phone leaks, but we wouldn't want to harp too much.