27 Jan 2011

PSP2 (or NGP) announced

Earlier this afternoon, Sony held a "Playstation Meeting" in Tokyo for the gaming press. To summarize, they announced a new, unnamed, portable gaming device (code-named Next Generation Portable, or NGP for short). This thing is one heck of a technological showpiece.

Here are the official specs from Sony:

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)
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, Wi-Fi 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 = 1x1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode), Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP)

Looks like Sony is taking the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach when designing this handheld, with the "kitchen sink" being a 3D display. Seriously, this thing has enough sensors to be more accurate than the original Wii remote, ALL the network/wireless capabilities of a modern smart phone (except making calls), cameras facing both directions (Skype anyone?), a 5-inch 960 x 544 pixel OLED touchscreen AND a full 5-inch touch panel on the back.

In terms of processing power, this thing is an absolute beast! When the PSP was first released in 2005, it had a 333MHz processor (under clocked to about 200MHz). At that time, smart phones were at about 200MHz, though the PSP also had the advantage of having a more specialized chip. Now? Smart phones are typically at the 1GHz single core mark, with 1.2GHz dual core processors making their way to phones probably late this year. The PSP2/NGP? It will have 4 cores, with clock speed possibilities ranging from 800MHz to 2GHz. Graphics? It will do AT LEAST 133M poly/s, with fill rates of 4G pixels/s @ 200MHz with 4 cores. I say at least because the SGX543MP4+'s specs are not available, so I took the specs of SGX543MP4 as the base. For comparison sake, the iPhone 4's (admittedly high-end) graphics can do 28M polys/s, 500M pixels/s @ 200MHz with 1 core.

Now, the devil on my shoulder is telling me that this device will probably be released late, at a US$399 price tag, a 2 to 4 hour battery life span, and overheating issues. It's quite hard to convince me otherwise when the CPU and GPU will be squeezing a lot of juice, in addition to the various connectivity options. For a GPS and 3G enabled game, it will probably last 2 hours at most. Even the engineers at Nintendo can't make the 3DS (graphics processor about 4 to 8 times... slower) last more than 5 hours on a single charge.

Despite the high ends specs and... well, more high end specs, Sony still needs to tell us the battery life and price tag (hopefully below US$300?) before it can convince me.

Specs from Kotaku
Image from Kotaku

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