PSP2: New Info, Predictions and What We Know So Far

If reports are to be believed, the announcement of the PSP2 is just around the corner. On January 27 in Tokyo, Japan, during an event called the “PlayStation Meeting”, Sony will reveal the successor to the PlayStation Portable for the very first time.

In the past year or so, numerous rumors, leaks and the like have surfaced, most of which conclude: the PSP2 is going to be one powerful, feature-packed handheld. We’ve put together a look at what you can expect, as well as some features we’d like to see in the final version of the PSP2.

What we know so far:

3G – Back in early July of last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sony and Nintendo were in discussion with Japan’s largest mobile provider, NTT DoCoMo, to provide 3G network support for their upcoming handhelds. A new report from Japanese newspaper Nikkei that backs up this information, stating that the PSP2 will indeed feature a 3G connection to DoCoMo’s network. While many US providers are upgrading their networks to offer 4G, 3G is still the standard and would be a welcome addition to the PSP2 on top of the guaranteed to be included WiFi.

OLED touch screen – Along with reporting on the 3G connection, Nikkei also mentions that the PSP2 will feature a OLED touch screen. Previous rumors said the PSP2’s screen would be “large” and “HD”, which OLED could certainly provide. OLED displays feature an ultra-bright, ultra-sharp, crisp image which could lead to some amazing visuals. The added note that the OLED panel is a touch screen means that the screen offers an additional control and input method on top of handheld’s traditional face buttons, dual analog sticks and a touch-sensitive panel on the rear of the unit.

Dual analog sticks – The #1 most requested feature from PSP owners was a second analog stick. One analog stick was enormously limiting in game control, most specifically tied to controlling cameras or character strafing. Every rumor thus far points to two analog sticks being included, and an image leaked by VG247 shows just that.

Rear touch panel – This was another one of the first rumors to rear its head. Quite different from what was found on most mobile devices, the PSP2 was said to have a touch panel on the rear of the device. The latest reports show that this may be in addition to a OLED touch screen, but the idea still remains unique and interesting. We’ve even dug up some Sony-filed patents illustrating how the touch panel might work.

Rear and front-facing cameras – Like a second analog stick, many users found themselves questioning why a camera was never built into any of the PSP’s revisions. There’s a camera in even the lowest cost mobile phones and Sony had already release a camera peripheral for the PSP – it just didn’t make sense why it wasn’t built into the unit. The PSP2 will kill that concern not once, but twice. Front and back. The rear-facing camera would be for more traditional usage, but a front-facing camera could allow for video chat, or even more exciting – a way to import your face into games and/or services. PlayStation Home avatar customization anyone?

Processor – Supposedly, Sony themselves are saying the PSP2 is as powerful as the PS3 – a very bold statement considering the sheer power our favorite home console can produce. Devs from around the industry seem to back up these claims speaking of the device’s power. Rumors have suggested that the PSP2’s processor may be a modified 4-core cell processor. Another rumor claimed it was sporting a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 – which may have been reason for delays. The latest report from Nikkei states that the processor is a custom processor built by Sony, which really could be anything at this point.

What we would like to see:

Real PlayStation Network support – Sure the PSP could access the PlayStation Store among other things. But we want a real service on our handheld. If Sony can use the PlayStation Network just like that on the PS3 — viewing friends lists, sending messages, etc. — they’d have a product that’s instantly appealing to any and all PS3 owners.

No Remote Playing around – If Sony is going to include remote play, it shouldn’t be confined to a mere few titles and/or PSOne Classics. Let this baby connect with the PS3 and play some games. It should also be able to access any content on the PS3’s harddrive – including music, videos, pics and anything else your heart desires.

Memory Stick this up your @$$ – We get it. You wanted to push your proprietary flash-media format with the PSP. It worked. Now be more open. Give us a slot for both Memory Stick and SD, albeit in micro sizes. Build some flash-mem inside the PSP2 while you’re at it. We’re spoiled rotten. 🙂

UMD = Unnecessary Media DiscRumors suggest that there won’t be a UMD drive on the PSP2 – good, it was a pain in the backside carrying around all those discs. We’re gamers, we want more than one game available and we don’t want to carry a Louis Vuitton suitcase to bring a few games with us. Yes – I’m being overly sarcastic, but I always hated UMD – I don’t know why the PSPgo wasn’t more successful.

Backwards compatibility with PSP digital downloads – Like I just said, the PSPgo wasn’t successful, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few of us (it’s really only a few) that own one and bought a crapload of digital-downloadable titles. Throw us a bone by letting us play these games on the PSP2. If only as just an apology for the PSPgo.

Qriocity and the cloud – If Sony wants the PSP2 to be that all-in-one device, it needs to play music. The services are already in place, thanks to Kaz Hirai’s initiative with networked services. Qriocity, Sony’s cloud-based music-streaming services is already on Bravia TVs and in some countries, the PS3 – make sure it’s on the PSP2 from the start. We’d like to save our games on these fully clouds as well.

HDMI out and DualShock support – One of the coolest features on the PSPgo was the ability to use a DualShock 3 to play games. Include this feature from the start, that way devs take advantage and create features or extras with this in mind. If it’s as powerful as the PS3 like it’s supposed to be, give it an mini-HDMI out for easy HDTV hookup.

No proprietary connectors – USB to mini-USB. ‘Nuff said.

Android – This was one of the original rumors to surface about the PSP2. However, this may have been confused with the Sony Ericsson Xperia “PlayStation Phone” and its inclusion of Google’s budding mobile-OS. Android is steadily picking up steam in the mobile fray and shows no sign of slowing. Having either a dual-boot OS, or have the PSP2 itself run on Android would guarantee the PSP2 as an all-in-one device. Endless access to apps, a decent web-browser with flash, email, etc. etc. etc. – would be the icing on what may be the sweetest tasting cake the handheld market has ever seen.

This is a lot to ask for – no doubt. But if Sony can add the majority of these features and keep it semi-reasonably priced, they’ll not only be a strong contender in the handheld/mobile market, they’ll dominate it.

All that being said, we’ll leave you with a couple of questions: what features would you like to see in the PSP2, and how much would you pay for the ultimate PlayStation portable device?