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Thursday, July 12, 2007
Sony to Offer Slimmer PSP in September

Sony will launch a slimmer model of its PlayStation Portable handheld game player in September, in an latest attempt to compete better with Nintendo's DS.

Both Sony and Nintendo released their handheld gear, the PSP and DS, respectively, late in 2004, but sales of the PSP, which can play movies, music and games, have recently been outshined by the DS.

"From a distance, this PSP might not look very different from the current model ... but when you have it in your hand, the difference becomes quite clear," Sony Computer Entertainment Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai said. "It's actually 33 percent lighter than the current PSP. It's also 19 percent slimmer."

The new PSP is also 19 percent slimmer than the current version. The system will also have a thinner, more efficient battery, 64MB of system memory and video-out capabilities allowing consumers to enjoy their games at 480 x 272 resolution and movies at full standard-definition resolution on any progressive scan TV. It's CPU will be clocked at 333MHz and wireless LAN 802.11b connectivity will be also supported.

In addition to the "Piano Black" model launching in September in the Core Pack, the new PSP will also be available in two new limited edition colors in North America: A collector?s edition "Ice Silver" PSP will be included in the Daxter PSP Entertainment Pack in September; and a limited edition "Ceramic White" PSP, including a Darth Vader silk screen on the unit, will be featured in the Star Wars Battlefront PSP Entertainment Pack launching in October. SCEA plans to make more than 140 new software titles available this fiscal year for PSP, in addition to the other great entertainment content coming on UMD ( Universal Media Disc ).

Hirai, who replaced Ken Kutaragi, known as the "Father of PlayStation," as head of Sony's game division earlier this year, made the PSP announcement during a presentation at the E3 video game exposition, the industry's biggest event.

Sony said the slimmer PSP would retail for about $170, the same as the current PSP. Nintendo's newest DS model, the DS Lite, sells for $130.

Nintendo sold 23.6 million DS units in the year ended March 2007, outpacing PSP shipments of 8.4 million.

Like Sony, Nintendo last year launched the lighter version of the DS, accelerating already white-hot demand for the handset. The DS Lite has two screens, opens like a book and allows gamers to control play with a stylus, instead of manipulating a keypad.

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