updated 04:20 pm EST, Sun January 23, 2011
Sony PSP2 may have always-on 3G and AMOLED screen
Rumors of a claimed to have details. The Nikkei believed from sources that Sony's new handheld would have a data-only 3G connection and thus an always-on way to play multiplayer games or access the PlayStation Store. The connection would be supplied by NTT DoCoMo in Japan and presumably other carriers in key areas.
No mention was made of how pricing would work. Carriers have usually been willing to allow 'free' 3G on e-readers, but usually only due to the very low pricing. Discounted 3G rates are options and could even follow the pattern of free Verizon 3G for Google's Cr-48 notebook, where users get a free but small amount of data every month and pay extra only when they need to expand the amount of data they use.
NTT DoCoMo has previously hinted at Sony talks for 3G access on game consoles.
Along with the Internet access, the handheld's touchscreen is now purportedly due to use AMOLED rather than the expected LCD. It's unknown how realistic this might be, as AMOLED's chief supplier Samsung is still facing production shortages that would keep it from very large-scale AMOLED production until later in 2011. Phones like the Nexus S have already had to use LCDs outside of the US to match demand. The console is expected by many to ship only by mid-to-late 2011 and could arrive in sync with improved production.
A much faster processor was also hinted at and could be custom-designed instead of an off-the-shelf part. Previous tips had pointed to the device having full physical controls, including dual analog sticks, and a backside touchpad along with the touchscreen.
Launching with cellular, if accurate, could give the PSP a vital selling point in Sony's attempt to recover market share from Apple. Although its shipping numbers are now largely hidden from the public since the NPD Group began reserving it for clients, the PSP's sales are known to have largely crashed in the past three years as the iPhone and iPod touch gained third-party game support. It first ignored the issue but eventually began running anti-iPhone ads that have so far had little effect.
The iPod touch has regularly outperformed the PSP both through Apple's much more aggressive hardware update cycle but also a much more Internet-aware platform and lower cost games. Where an iOS game often costs $10 or less, a PSP game often costs $40 even when downloaded through the PlayStation Store. It so far uses only Wi-Fi to hop online, however, and so is limited to apps that don't assume the owner is always connected.
The PSP2 should be part of a one-two combination that will include the Xperia Play, an Android-based gaming phone that will have its own PSP-style controls and a PlayStation app that may even support playing PSP games. [via OLED-Display]