Thursday, January 27, 2011

Global 2011: Sony announces 'Next Generation Portable' handheld

PlayStation® PortableImage by @kevinv033 via Flickr
In a move that shocked precisely no one, Sony confirmed months of speculation by officially unveiling their next handheld video game system at a press event in Tokyo on Thursday.

Codenamed "NGP" for Next Generation Portable, the system packs a load of impressive technology, including two analog sticks, a 5-inch OLED touchscreen (for reference, an iPhone's screen is 3.5 inches), a second touch pad on the back of the device, and a new flash-card media format.

Sony announced that the system will be released before the end of 2011, though no word on whether that's a worldwide date or just for Japan. No pricing details were released.

To better compete with longtime rival Nintendo's soon-to-be-released 3DS system and Apple's formidable iOS devices, the NGP will also feature 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, front and rear cameras, an electronic compass, and six-axis motion-sensing capability. Yikes. Five to one it will also cut through this tin can!

Sony revealed a few other NGP functions, such as a location-based application that lets users find nearby players and a user-interface that ties social-networking features to every game.  The system has a new rounded form factor as well (Sony calls it the 'Super Oval Design') and is physically a bit larger than the current PSP-3000 model.

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