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By 27 January 2011 | Categories: news

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In the wake of Nintendo’s unveiling of its hotly anticipated 3DS portable gaming console, Sony today revealed its forthcoming handheld.
 
Sony’s device, codenamed Next Generation Portable (NGP), boasts a new look which Sony refers to as the Super Oval Design form factor, designed to fit comfortably in a gamers’ hands. It also features a touch-enabled 5" OLED (organic light emitting) display that will according to the company, deliver “visually striking graphics never seen before on a portable entertainment system”. 
 
Sony did not skip on beefing up the NGP with lots of processing muscle, seeing that it is powered combined CPU (quad-core ARM Cortex-A9) and GPU (SGX543MP4+) in order to deliver PS3-level graphics on a portable device.
 
UDM-free
 
Sony has dropped the UDM-format of the current PSP, in favour of a small flash memory based card, which will be used to store the full title, along with add-on game content as well as the game save data. Very interesting is that game content developed and released for devices running Google’s Android platform will be able to run on the NGP.
 
As rumoured before, the NGP incorporates a multi-touch (capacitive) touch-pad at the back of the device, which in conjunction with the front touch-screen, will enable gamers to employ a myriad of new game- and application controls such as “touch, grab, trace, push and pull” using multiple fingers. According to Eurogamer, the front touch-sensitive display and rear touch-pad are exactly the same size, making it possible to employ both touch-sensitive areas for such gesture-based controls as pinching, which has a lot of gameplay application potential.  
 
  
Other features
 
The portable sports both 3G and Wi-Fi integration, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, GPS, two analogue sticks, motion sensors (like the 3DS) in the form of a Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), as well as a three-axis electronic compass.
 
As is the case with Nintendo’s new system, the device will offer functionality beyond just gaming, with Sony providing location-based services via PlayStation Network (PSN). These new services will be known as “Near” and will enable users to find out what their NGP-wielding friends in the vicinity are currently playing or have played recently (as Nintendo did with SpotPass). Every game title for the device will also sport a segment called “LiveArea”, enabling gamers to share their accomplishment with users playing the same title.
 
The NGP will be released at the end of this year, meaning it should become available in time to make it onto your Xmas wishlist. According to Howard Lonstein, independent product manager at Ster Kinekor Entertainment, distributors of PlayStation in South Africa, the NGP will be very aggressively priced, in line with what the technology can offer. The international release date is also applicable to South Africa.
 
 
Techspec sheet:
 
CPU: ARM Cortex-A9 core (4 core)
GPU: SGX543MP4+
External dimensions: Approx. 182 x 18.6 x 83.5 mm (width x height x depth) 
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 (Wi-Fi), 
Bluetooth 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP)

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