For the second time in three months, rumors of Sony releasing a Playstation gaming smartphone have surfaced.

This time, Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun says the Sony Ericsson Playstation Phone is expected to hit North American and European shelves in the spring of 2011. The phone, which is rumored to being called either Zeus Z1 or Xperia Play, could debut at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the report said.

A spokesperson for Sony Ericsson said the company does not comment on rumors or speculation, nor does it preannounce products.

The report says the phone would be a fusion device, combining the Playstation Portable's gaming model with traditional smartphone capabilities. This is not the first time such a phone has been rumored. Photos for a similar phone were posted on Engadget in October, however, they were found to be a hoax.

Sony has watched Apple's iPhone take the mobile gaming industry by storm and a Playstation phone would try and block the Cupertino, Calif. company's surge.

Yet video game analyst Michael Pachter is unsure such a phone will ever be sold. The only way this would work is if it was a committed handheld, multifunction device that could compete head to head with the iPhone. I don't see Sony making that bet. They struggled with the PSP and now they're finally making money off it after some price cuts. They've invested billions in it and it would take that much to embark on a whole new product launch. They'd already be lagging behind the iPhone and even the HTC Evo, Pachter said.