Sony Set to Release Next Generation PSP


At a press conference held in Tokyo, Sony unveiled its brand new NGP (Next Generation Portable) device. The NGP will succeed Sony’s PSP (Play Station Portable) gaming device.

Sony president Kaz Hirai remarked that the NGP comes equipped with five main features, viz. A brand new user interface, ability to access social media websites, location-tracking applications, applications that provide augmented reality (AR) information and finally, the ability to play PS3 games via the PlayStation Suite.

The NGP comes equipped with a 5 inch OLEG digital display with a screen resolution of 960 by 544 pixels which is decidedly better than the Apple iPhone 4, which has a 3.5 inch LCD screen with a resolution of 960 by 640 pixels. Sony claims that the NGP’s OLED display allows for crystal-clear viewing from all angles.

The NGP also sports a revolutionary 5 inch multi-touch surface on its backside.  This surface is embedded with a number of PlayStation icons and is meant to be used during game play. This makes Sony’s NGP the only gaming device that comes with a “touch input” option currently.

Sony has kept the new layout similar to its earlier PSP with one significant difference; the new NGP comes with dual joysticks unlike the PSP and these “micro analog sticks” are designed to give the user a dual shock experience, significantly improving game play quality.

Like most hand held devices released recently and unlike the PSP, the NGP comes with dual cameras. The NGP also uses flash media storage as compared to the UMD drives that are used in the PSP. This was probably done keeping the wide availability and the low cost of flash media sticks in mind. The NGP is compatible with older PSP games but as the storage format is completely different, the only real way to play a PSP game on the NGP is by downloading it from the online PlayStation Store.

At the press conference, a number of game developers displayed PS3 games seamlessly running on the NGP. The quality of graphics and game play supports Sony’s earlier claim that the NGP would match the PS3’s visual effects. To encourage faster migration to the NGP format, Sony has included an “export” feature in its game development kit which will help developers convert PS3 games into the NGP format without making major changes to the original game. This is expected to boost the popularity of the NGP as hundreds of PS3 titles will be available to NGP users in the near future.

The NGP is powered by an ARM Cortex-A9 quad core CPU and an SGX543 quad core GPU, making it the most powerful hand held device in existence. The NGP also includes WiFi, 3G and a GPS location tracking service called “Near” that turns the NGP into a GPS device. “Near” can also detect other NGP players in the area and show what games they are playing.

Though Sony’s new NGP beats its nearest competitor – the Nintendo 3DS by a mile when it comes to features and tech specs, it will find it difficult to match Nintendo’s competitive price-tag of $250. Sony has refused to name a price for the NGP as of now but it is expected to be in the $300-350 range.

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