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Thursday, September 16, 2004
Sony announces new PSX models for Japan

Sony has announced two new models which will arrive in early December, boasting new software features and minor updates to the hardware.

New versions of both the 160Gb and 250Gb models of the hardware will be shipped, labelled as DESR-5500 and DESR-7500 respectively, and will be functionally identical aside from the drive sizes and the lack of satellite tuner and ghost reduction systems in the low-end model.

The changes to the hardware in this upgrade are minimal, with the main additions being a pass-through for antenna signals - which was considered to be a glaring omission of the original systems - and an updated DVD burner which will support DVD+R media.

Sony is more enthused about the software updates in the new systems, which will now boast a set of applications called X-Appli, which are designed to allow users to exploit the functions of the PSX more fully.

One of these applications is a keyword based recording system which allows the user to set the device to automatically record interesting programs based on a keyword search, the same as TiVo boxes do, while a new slideshow application allows users to view photos on the system in a slide show with music and transition effects.

The most interesting of the programs, however, is x-DJ, which mixes in elements of Sony's PS2 title DJBox (or DJ Decks & FX as it's known here) and gives the PSX the ability to dynamically "mix" tracks on the system according to a mood selected by the user, as well as visualising them on the screen.

The announcement of the new models scotches speculation that Sony's price cuts to the existing PSX range - with two cuts which slashed the price of the high end model by 35,200 Yen (261 Euro) in the space of a month - could indicate that the company was preparing to quietly withdraw the range.

Instead, the firm seems determined to fight on, despite the general consumer apathy towards the PSX devices which has followed on from a promising launch late last year, which saw early adopters snapping up the first allocations of the units.

However, it has certainly relented on pricing, and the new PSX models will be launched without an RRP - instead, they are being quoted as "open price," with retailers free to set final price points as they see fit.

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