The original PSP was never a massive success, at least not in Australia. Expensive and requiring proprietary UMD discs, it was always a tough ask for even the most enthusiastic portable gamer. Well none of that is going to stop Sony trying again. Introducing the NGP (Next Generation Portable), apparently Sony want’s to ditch the PSP branding. Luckily the specs actually live up to the name, featuring the first quad-core ARM processor, the Cortex A9. Naturally the screen is a capacitive multi-touch, but this one stretches to 5” and runs 960×544 resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Not only that, but the screen is OLED, actually that is pretty revolutionary.
OLED is often heralded as amazing, but producing the technology is usually too expensive to include, leaving most mobile devices with the standard LED.. not the NGP. More great news.. UMD is dead. The NGP will used flash-based storage, likely something akin to Sony’s Memory Stick. The NGP also features a bunch of internal chips and sensors.. try 3G and WiFi connectivity, GPS, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, stereo speakers, front and rear cameras, basically the NGP just set the benchmark for tomorrow’s smart phone.
As always Engadget have fantastic coverage of the event, including multiple videos of the NGP actually running. Actually right now they are just running video, not actually powering the games that will be available for the NGP. What it does show is the PlayStation and Sony properties will be heavily promoted.. Killzone 3, Little Big Planet 2, as well as Sony movies which will surely be delivered or at least downloaded via the PSN.
Another unique element to the NGP is the touch-sensitive back, it’ll be interesting to see how developers take care of this and combine it with the slew of other control mechanisms. With dual-analog control sticks, touch screen, shoulder buttons and the touch-sensitive back, you may need to grow a couple more fingers to operate the thing.
Sony are adding a new service to the PlayStation Network called Near. This will allow gamers to see when their friends are, well.. near. Its also a mechanism for portable gamers to meet new strangers nearby to game with. Lets hope the NGP is more popular than the PSP1, in the entire time its been on sale, I’ve never seen one in the wild and none of my friends own one.
With the increased penetration of smart phones that enable decent mobile gaming, the question remains, is there still room in the market for a dedicated portable gaming device ? Also with a 5” screen and controls either side, just how portable is the NGP ? 18.2cm long is going to be a hard ask for most pockets.
The NGP will be available at the end of 2011. No word on price, but with a spec sheet like this, best to start saving now. The NGP will come in 3 colours, black, white and silver.
CPU: ARM® Cortex™-A9 core (4 core)
External Dimensions: Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
Screens (Touch Screen): 5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, approx. 16 million colours, OLED multi touch screen, capacitive type
Rear touch pad: Multi touch pad, capacitive type
Cameras: Front camera, rear camera
Sound: Built-in stereo speakers, built-in microphone
Sensors: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), three-axis electronic compass
Location: Built-in GPS, Wireless location service support
Keys / Switches: PS button, Power button, Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left), Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), Shoulder buttons (Right/Left), Right stick, Left stick, START button, SELECT button, Volume buttons (+/-)
Wireless communications: Mobile network connectivity (3G), IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1) (Wireless), (Infrastructure Mode/Ad Hoc Mode), Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP）
Here’s the very artsy video that introduced the world to the NGP