Sony Announces New PSP2: Codename NGP
After years of rumors, Sony has officially announced the PlayStation Portable 2, successor to the popular PSP. Except that Sony isn’t calling it the PSP2; it's codenamed NGP for Next Generation Portable.
Oh Sony, things can never be simple, can they?
Codenames aside, the NGP is an impressive beast of mobile gaming hardware. The basic form factor is reminiscent of the original PSP, but the comparisons end there. Everything has been upgraded.
Start with the display. It's 5 inches, using OLED technology with a much higher resolution (960 by 544 pixels, akin to the iPhone 4 Retina Display) than the original. Sony has also included dual analog thumbsticks , making the NGP controls much closer to a classic PlayStation controller.
Thumbsticks are so 20th century, though. Sony added touchscreen functionality to the NGP display as well as a full touchpad on the back of the device. This will allow the NGP to compete in the growing touchscreen gaming market that thrives on smartphones.
The rear touchpad is as large as the screen on the front and has some major advantages for gaming. First, the fingers naturally rest on the back of the device while holding it, so it relieves the common problem of trying to hold a device with one hand while tapping with the other. Also, keeping the finger input on the back keeps the fingers from getting in the way of viewing what's on the screen, another problem with traditional touchscreen gaming.
That's not all. The Sony NGP will also include front- and rear-facing cameras (including video chat functionality), a compass, GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G. Sony said the processor would be quad-core with GPU graphics integrated, but gave no other information about it.
Sony said the NGP, which will likely receive an official name later, will go on sale for the 2011 holiday season for an unspecified price.
Sony also announced the PlayStation Suite, which is a sort of mobile gaming platform for Android devices. It will start off acting as an emulator for playing first-generation PlayStation games on Android mobile devices, but Sony plans to add other features, including an Android game store and new games.
Sony PlayStation Suite will require Android 2.3 Gingerbread or later, so it's not ready quite yet. It will have onscreen controls for phones that don't have gaming controls, but it's also designed to aid the PlayStation Phone (the Xperia Play ), which is not yet official but will run on Android.