Sony announced a new version of its Playstation Portable handheld games console that can be used as a telephone, to go on sale in Europe and the United States in mid-October.
The Playstation Portable 3000 will have a built-in microphone and a new screen which has more colors and is better suited for use outdoors, Sony said at a video games convention in Leipzig, Germany on Wednesday.
The image quality on the new LCD screen is dramatically enhanced, according to Sony. The LCD screen adopts an anti-reflection technology, which enables users to see the screen more clearly in well-lit places, even when used outdoors.
Further expanding PSP's entertainment capabilities, the video-out port is also expanded to output gameplay in interlace format, which will allow new PSP users to enjoy games on non-progressive TVs by using separately sold cables. With the current "slim and light" PSP, games can be displayed on progressive TVs only.
In addition to the basic "Piano Black" color, the new PSP will also come in "Pearl White" and "Mystic Silver".
The PSP already supports the software program Skype , which enables users to make free telephone calls over the internet, but the new PSP, with built-in microphone, will make the process easier, Sony says.
The PSP 3000 will retail for 199 euros ($294), compared to 169 euros for the current slim version of the PSP, which will remain on sale.
Sony also said it would launch a version of its flagship Playstation 3 console with a 160 gigabyte hard drive to store more downloaded content and video, to retail for 449 euros on October 31. including 70 euros credit for downloads. The new 160GB PS3 will retail in North America as part of the limited-edition Uncharted: Drake's Fortune PS3 system bundle.
A version of the PS3 with an 80 gigabyte hard-drive will go on sale for 399 euros later in August, Sony said.
Music videos streamed over the internet would soon be available free to the PS3, while a music and video download service modeled on its U.S. version should be available across Europe by the third quarter of 2009, the company added.
Sony also announced a new wireless keypad for PS3, to be introduced this holiday season worldwide.
The new peripheral for SIXAXIS and DUALSHOCK 3 wireless controllers for PS3, will be introduced in North America in late November. It will be also introduced in Japan, Europe and Asia by the end of this year.
The Wireless Keypad is designed to fit precisely into the unique shape of SIXAXIS and DUALSHOCK 3 wireless controllers, and can be easily attached or removed. By using the product instead of the on-screen keyboard, users will be able to enjoy text chat communication more easily and comfortably in their hands, just as they would use familiar portable communication devices. It supports text chat in PlayStation?Home as well, and enables users to enjoy interactivity playing on-line titles and enjoying entertainment content more smoothly.
Equipped with Bluetooth functionality, the Wireless Keypad can be paired to PS3 by simply connecting the keypad to the USB cable that comes bundled with the PS3 system. Also, two shortcut buttons, a Communication Button and a Message Box Button, are placed on the lower part of the Wireless Keypad, enabling users to jump to pre-set features on XMB (XrossMediaBar) such as "Friends" and "Message Box" during game play, which help PS3 users to smoothly communicate with each other. Additionally, a Touch Pad Button allows PS3 users to use the entire surface of the keypad as a touch pad, allowing them to easily maneuver the pointer while web browsing, simply by sliding their finger on the keypad surface.