First the big news , BT and Sony computer entertainment Europe(SCEE) have signed a four year deal to transform the PSP by adding wireless broadband communications functions including high quality video and voice calls and instant messaging. At first, only PSP-to-PSP calls will be supported but this will be soon followed by the ability to support calls and messages between PSPs, computers, regular phones and mobiles. The service will first be introduced in the UK and the rest of Europe . Surprisingly no details were released on when the service will be available in the US which has a PSP user base of 7.4 million . I guess this is Sony’s answer to the Nintendo DS , which is set to break all sales records for a gaming hand held before its time runs out , but there are a hundred reasons why this strategy won’t work at least with the current avatar of the PSP . Here are my top 5 reasons
- Anybody who’s seen or held the PSP knows how big it really is, with its large screen and dedicated gaming buttons , its not something you would want to be seen talking into.
- There are already so many complaints about PSP’s battery life and with video and voice calls , its anybody’s guess how long the battery would last.
- Video calls will need a cam , and with Wi-fi the new hardware coming into the PSP will have some implications on the size of the device , will it get bulkier or is Sony going to rethink their whole design strategy for the PSP and release it as a new model with the current PSP existing as a low price model.
- The D pad and associated buttons cant be used for messaging , of course they know that , does that mean more buttons or or rather a small alphanumeric keypad . I think touchscreen would be better , what impact will that have on the cost and size of the next gen PSP.
- Last but not the least, the cost. Just how much is this gaming device cum phone cum Wi-Fi internet device cum media player going to cost , not as much as the PS3 I hope 🙂
What could be done otherwise is to improve the PSP as what it was meant to be , a portable gaming and media device : improve the battery life , provide descent internal storage, better content delivery and for god’s sake drop that damn UMD drive.