Except that it wasn't called a PSP. True to Sony's penchant for making up fancy-shmancy tech terms and acronyms, the new handheld was dubbed the Next Generation Portable, or NGP for short--go figure. The NGP looks similar to the PSP but with a more oval formfactor. But that's where the similarity ends, as the NGP's innards boasts an impressive array of hardware.
In a first for any handheld gaming system, the NGP features a large 5" OLED multitouch capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 960 x 544 pixels, approximately 4 times as much as the current PSP, and capable of displaying 16 million colors. There's also an odd multitouch pad on the back side, as well as two cameras, one on the front and another on the rear side.
While gamers were initially dismayed at the PSP's single analog nub, they're bound to cheer the two full analog sticks prominently featured on the front side. The NGP also has a six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, and three-axis accelerometer), along with a three-axis electronic compass plus a built-in GPS.
Powered by a quad-core ARM Cortex A9 processor and quad-core PowerVR SGX534MP4+ GPU, the NGP is also enabled for 3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity. And just like the PSP Go, the clunky UMD drive is gone, replaced with a slot for game flash cards very similar to the ones used by the Nintendo DS.
Despite the cheesy name, I have to admit I was impressed by the NGP's specs, and was thankful that it's not the slider type of device that was rendered in so many concept drawings. I was also baffled at Sony's no mention whatsoever about battery life. While OLED screens are more energy efficient than LCD screens and can consume less power, the quad core and GPU processors look like they need a lot of power.
No price was announced during the NGP launch or a definite release date, just "Holiday 2011." Which means that it'll be out just around Christmas in Japan. And the long wait begins...