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Sony PSP 'update' adds office apps, browser, email

Early build leaked onto the web

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Sony may be preparing to release its first PlayStation Portable (PSP) update, if a file that briefly appeared on the web this weekend is what it purports to be: a leaked copy of an early version of the update code.

Whatever its provenance, the software certainly includes some interesting features. In addition to the usual bug fixes, the update is said to add not only a web browser and an email program, but a word processor and a spreadsheet.

At this stage, the translations from the original Japanese exploration of the alleged PSP update file doesn't make it clear whether these are fully functioning office apps - or simply readers put in place to handle emailed attachments. Given the device's nature, we suspect that latter, but early talk of a PSP keyboard accessory has led some observers to suggest they're the real thing.

The update also adds an on-screen calculator utility, three games and an automatic software update feature along the lines of the utilities found in desktop operating systems.

Early looks at the update suggest it is not complete, with the update process failing some way in. If by any chance you find yourself with a copy - don't ask us where to get it, we don't know - it's probably not a good idea to run it. Quite apart from being potentially incomplete, it has not yet been verified that the file has even come from Sony, and could in fact be something more malign.

If the file does represent an early build of an official update, then it seems likely Sony will release it ahead of the PSP's US and European launches, expected to in March. So far, the PSP is on sale in Japan only.

As Sony demonstrated with the launch of the PSX PS2-based PVR in December 2003, it is willing to ship a number of updates, each adding extra functionality that was originally planned for the machine but dropped in order to get it to market on schedule. Given Sony's rush to get the PSP out the door, it's entirely plausible that components such as the browser and email app were cut at the eleventh hour. ®

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