Sony PSP-3000 speculation: hard drives, touchscreens, possibilities?

Thumb - Image 1Last week saw the spread of rumors of the appearance of a new line in the PSP franchise. While there’s not much solid information to work with for now, last week’s runabout did give us plenty of food-for-thought on what the PSP-3000 may carry if it does exist. Wondering what sort of features I had in mind? Visit the full article for the rest of my two cents!

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Last week, the community was rocked with rumors of a new PSP that was reportedly under development. Aside from some rather questionable pictures however, not much else was known about this SKU, which has been dubbed the PSP-3000. Ironic, considering that the days before this revelation are littered with speculation of what the PSPÂ’s next evolutionary step will have.

This article will attempt to piece together some of the bigger rumors we’ve run into in the past, and see just how they all fit together. Take them as “What if” possibilities – no more, no less.

First glance

Outwardly, the presumed PSP-3000 prototype – weÂ’ll call it the 3k for short – doesnÂ’t look that different from the PSP Slim. Based on the available images we have, the 3k has the same body size as the Slim, going as far as having the same glossy black finish and labels for its headset port.

What is visibly different is the new PlayStation button thatÂ’s replaced the home button. Current speculation indicates that this was done by Sony so that there wouldnÂ’t be any confusionbetween the PS button on the PSP, and the one found on the PlayStation 3Â’s SIXAXIS controller. Basically, if you know how to operate a PS3, then youÂ’ll know how to use the new PSP.

The other noticeable difference is an integral microphone located to the right of the volume controls. It doesnÂ’t seem like a big difference at first glance, but since the 3k now carries it built-in as compared to a separate, purchasable accessory, that does offer up some interesting possibilities for game devs or similar groups with vested interests in the handheld. WeÂ’ll delve into that matter a little later.

From here, not much else can be said of the unitÂ’s internal workings. Is it running on an entirely new motherboard? How will its specs compare to the two models already out? While we canÂ’t answer these questions yet, whoÂ’s to say we canÂ’t draw upon some possible features the unit will carry, based on previous reports and speculations.

Memory Capacity

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A few days after Sony released the PlayStation StoreÂ’s video download service for the PlayStation 3, John Koller announced that the company was looking into giving the PSP a native version of the PS Store. From here, itÂ’s not too hard to imagine the PSP getting the same sort of download functionality as its bigger kin.

That is, if we assume all youÂ’ll be getting your handheld via PSN are videos. ThereÂ’s also the matter of downloadable games to worry about, with titles like Echochrome being a good example of this growing trend. As more developers take a similar route for their game releases, and perhaps even launching full-sized titles online, the PSPÂ’s current 16GB stick capacity begins to look a little lacking.

One possible solution to this is the expected arrival of an even bigger 32 GB memstick by next year. Based on another E3 2008 revelation however, Sony might be planning something bigger: hard drives. Where will Sony place the new HDD if – and that’s a very big ifit’s implemented for the PSP-3000?

One idea would be that it will replace the UMD. Delving into this idea further, I’d imagine Sony will also use a Solid-State Drive (SSD). That format is known for its resistance to physical shock – a must for the travel-savy handheld- and its compact size enables it to fit flush into the PSP-3000’s frame without any problems.

Some expected trade-offs for this transition include a considerably higher price tag for the 3k, and the SSD formatÂ’s slow read speed. More importantly, a move to dedicated a HDD format, while freeing developers from the limits of a UMD, may also open up their games to a longtime industry problem: piracy.

Apple and Oranges: The fabled PSP Phone

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Is the PSP-3000 very well be the PSP Phone we’ve heard so much about? Well, yes and no. Based on a report from Marketing Week, Sony is indeed working on a PlayStation-branded phone – an entirely new gadget that will make use of functions from the PSP line. Disappointing news perhaps, but the previous phone speculations does leave us with some other interesting ideas to play with, and helps streamline what the PSP-3000 may turn into.


Will the PSP-3000 have a touchscreen? Once again, the current information weÂ’ve got isnÂ’t much to go on, or if it even carries one, save for recent rumors of a Sony filing a patent for a gaming device with touchscreen features. Much like the Phone rumor earlier, it’s still unclear if this is indeed the new PSP, or another device altogether.

If it was the 3k though, weÂ’re looking at quite a lot of new functionality. Touch-based games are just one possibility, though my expectation is that this tech will have better synergy with the functions Sony may introduce along with native PlayStation Store support.

Think about it – being able to use the PSPÂ’s screen as you would an iPhone or DS to browse content on PSN; Otherwise clunky tasks such as surfing the net or browsing the PSP GPS‘ UI becomes dramatically easier. An especially big plus point for new PSP owners specifically.

Games might be a more complicated case, given implementing this tech would depend heavily on the developers, or if they consider it important enough to be used for their projects *coughSIXAXIScough*.

The microphone

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Remember where the microphone was positioned – just below the screen. The bad news is this could further disprove the PSP-3000 as a PSP Phone, given it’s a poor place to put a speaker. On the other hand, that fact it’s now a permanent part of the handheld’s real estate offers up some interesting possibilities.

One such possibility is that we wonÂ’t have to invest in SonyÂ’s proprietary headsets. A minor detail perhaps, but a big break for those whoÂ’d like to use Skype or Go!Messenger using a better set of earphones than the ones that come with the PSP. Another ambitious prospect for the built-in microphone would be more support for in-game voice chat.

Much like the touch screen as a gaming device however, this possibility rests on the devs, so donÂ’t hold your breath. Still, a talking with teammates during a bout of Resistance: Retribution does sound par for the course.

Wrapping it up

What sort of device are we looking at if it did incorporate all these features? Well, it’s not just a gaming platform anymore that’s for sure. Much like the PlayStation 3, the PSP may turn out to be a media entertainment system all to its own. Do we see a potential iPod killer in Sony’s future plans? I hope not – I’d very much prefer that whatever the PSP does evolve into spins off into a completely new direction.

I take this opportunity to remind the readers that this is strictly wishful thinking, based on whatever info’s available out there. Still, dreaming up the sort of possibilities that may become part of the PSP system in the near future is fun. Who knows – one of these speculations just might come true.

This is where IÂ’ll end this connect-the-dots session, though I encourage the readers to keep on the lookout in case somebody confirms the existence of the PSP-3000. Feel free to offer you own two cents in the comments section below.

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