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Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. finally took off the wraps from its highly-anticipated next-generation PlayStation Portable. Code-named NGP (next-generation portable), the new device will feature incredibly powerful hardware along with a number of interactive and social capabilities that truly take the mobile gaming to the next-level.

Sony NGP is based on a system-on-chip with four ARM Cortex-A9 cores, PowerVR SGX543MP4+ graphics engine and a memory controller. The new portable game console has 5" multi-touch OLED screen with 960x544 resolution, typical set of PSP buttons, two cameras (front and rear), Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, GPS, six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), three-axis electronic compass, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR controller, integrated speakers and microphone as well as multi touchpad located on the back side of the system. For the first time, a portable entertainment system will feature two analog sticks, which enable a wider range of game genres to be brought into the portable experience.

NGP adopts a new game medium, a small flash memory based card, dedicated for NGP software titles. Taking advantage of the flash memory feature, this innovative card can store the full software titles plus add-on game content or the game save data directly on to the card. By adopting flash memory based card, SCE will be able to provide game cards with higher capacity in the future, allowing developers to store more game data to deliver rich and immersive games.

 While succeeding the basic design philosophy of PSP, NGP adopts the so-called super oval design form-factor, created to fit comfortably in users' hands. The console is approximately 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) large, but the weight is unclear. 

By having both Wi-Fi and 3G network connectivity, together with various applications, NGP will enable "infinite" possibilities for users to "encounter", "connect", "discover", "share" and "play" with friends wherever they are. 

While the general specifications of the Sony's next-generation portable game system are now clear, there are still a lot of uncertainties. For example, with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, multi-touch screen and integrated microphone and speakers the device will be able to easily act as a mobile Internet device (MID) as well as phone. But it is questionable whether the company will actually support such functionality officially. For example, the original PSP only supports Skype calls. Sony also did not touch upon backwards compatibility with PSP games and media.

NGP will make its debut at the end of the year 2011.

Tags: Sony, PSP2, NGP, PowerVR

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