TOKYO (Reuters)-Sony Corp is set to launch a frontal challenge for Nintendo Co Ltd and Apple Inc with a new handheld gaming device that analysts expect largely to be unveiled at an event in Tokyo on Thursday.
Consumer electronics giant has refused to comment on the agenda for the event, which is the same day that Nintendo is expected to report a slide in quarterly profit. Nintendo next month launches its 3D version of its popular DS model.
With tablets eat in the market for handheld gaming devices and Smartphones, Sony and Nintendo desperately need a blockbuster product to increase sales and profits.
Nintendo DS sold nearly 136 million units until September. Sony PSP has sold approximately 61 million.
New Sony includes a touch panel and wireless 3 G connectivity, the first games in a portable device, Japan's Nikkei business daily said this week. It added that the set-up 3 G would be for the data, it calls.
Blog reports say that the device will be as powerful as the PlayStation 3 console.
"From our point of view it is important how many they can sell," said Mizuho investors securities analyst Nobuo Kurahashi. "A lot is depends on the software titles that offer".
He noticed a change in apparent relief between companies of games. "The Nintendo 3DS seems to have changed in the area of serious games that may not be reproduced on a smartphone."
The next generation PSP may be closely related to a PlayStation phone that can be in the works.
If not announced this week the PlayStation phone may be unveiled on February 13, at an event in Barcelona, Sony Ericsson.
Nintendo is expected to report a decline in the percentage close to 40 for October-December profit as sales of the DS and compatible software 3D fade before the launch.
Sony is next week should register a drop in profits for the quarter October-December, impressed by his business TV struggling.
(Editing by Gangadhar Daga and David Hulmes)