Sony has announced its successor to the PSP, the “Next Generation Portable,” as well as the distribution of PSP games over smartphones and similar mobile devices.
The “NGP” (this is presumed to be an annoying marketing alias to be discarded for the expected “PSP2″ later on) boasts a 5 inch 960×544 “high resolution” display along with 3G (requiring a contract with a mobile phone provider), wifi, GPS and USB, all in an impressively thin package.
Aside from the presence of near standard PlayStation controls, the device also features a touch panel control system on the rear, and the now standard motion sensor.
Supposedly the unit is “equal” to a PS3, although the constraints of battery life and storage capacity likely mean this is a significant overstatement at the very least.
In proper Sony style, the unit has also “borrowed” yet another idea from Nintendo – it will feature a “LiveArea” system to allow users to network with other PSP2 users in their vicinity, allowing for easy match-ups.
A 2011 Christmas launch is expected, with an array of established PlayStation franchises announced as providing stripped down exclusives.
Sony’s other major portable announcement is the “PlayStation Suite,” essentially a PSP emulator for Android smartphones, touted as a “hardware neutral game framework” (although an iOS version is notably absent).
Save for devout Sony fans, enthusiasm for the releases appears likely to be muted – the PSP2 represents the bare minimum which could expected of an update to the obsolete PSP platform, and looks set to face very stiff competition from the 3DS (assuming it doesn’t cause blindness after all) and other mobile devices, whilst distributing PSP games on smartphones only serves to highlight how primitive the PSP is compared to what these phones are capable of.