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Sony shows wireless PlayStation Portable

Phew, what a scorcher

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Sony yesterday unwrapped the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and pledged to put PlayStation 2 visuals in the palm of players' hands around the world by next Spring.

And almost 100 developers have pledged to support the handheld console, Sony said.

Sony PlayStation Portable

The PSP's key feature is a 4.3in 16:9 ratio, 480 x 272, 32-bit colour TFT LCD, with the classic PlayStation controls on either side. Inside the box are stereo speakers - there's an earphone socket too - and screen controls.

As the bottom left-hand corner of the picture shows, there's a wrist lanyard anchor point and, above it, icons for the device's MemoryStick Pro port and wireless networking adaptor power switch. The PSP has 802.11b built-in for multi-player gaming and - presumably - access to the Internet for content. There's also a USB 2.0 port for connection to a digital camera or PC. The PSP has IrDA, too, and apparently ships with a remote control.

The handheld contains 32MB of main memory and 4MB of embedded DRAM The PSP measures 17 x 7.4 x 2.3cm and weighs 260g including its rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. Sony has managed to cram the unit's Universal Media Disc optical drive in there too. The 6cm UMDs hold 1.8GB of data on a single-side, single-layer disc, and have also been specced up as audio and video discs, too, presumably to allow for content providers to offer UMD product much as they would a CD or DVD.

Sony PlayStation Portable

UMD supports Sony's own ATRAC 3+ audio format, plus MPEG 4 and PCM. On the video side, it can handle MPEG 4 and Caption PNG. Data is encrypted using 128-bit AES.

Sony reiterated its plan to ship the PSP in Japan by the end of the year and to bring it to the US and Europe by Spring 2005.

The company's list of software partners reads like a who's who of the video game industry. Compatibility between PSP games and the PS2 should ensure active support for the handheld. ®

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