Sony’s PlayStation Portable may not have flown off shelves, but Android devices sure have. So why wouldn’t Sony look to incorporate Android in its next handheld system? The company appears to have done just that, announcing today its next-generation handheld, codenamed “NGP.”
The Sony NGP will make its commercial debut by the end of 2011.
The NGP has a ARM Cortex-A9 core (4 core) CPU, dual analogs sticks, a 5-inch OLED display, 3G connectivity (carriers not yet announced), GPS, multi-touch pad, both a front and rear camera, and it will support Sony’s new PlayStation Suite software, which brings the PlayStation experience to Android-based devices. So, while Sony hasn’t flat-out said its next-gen handheld is based on Android, that functionality sure seems to imply that it is.
The Sony NGP combines gaming experiences with social connectivity by leveraging Sony’s experience on both the PSP (PlayStation Portable) and the PS3 (PlayStation 3). By combining Wi-Fi and 3G network connectivity with various applications, NGP will let NGP owners connect and play with friends wherever they are.
The Sony NGP incorporates a multi-touch 5-inch organic light emitting display (OLED) as the front display that supports both video games and other digital content (ahem, movies and Web browsing). The new system also incorporates a unique multi-touch pad on the rear, and together with the front touch display offers new gameplay by which users can interact directly with games in a 3D-like motion, through “touch, grab, trace, push and pull” moves of the fingers.
While succeeding the basic design philosophy of PSP, the Sony NGP is the first handheld device to feature two analog sticks, enabling a wider range of game genres to be brought into the portable experience. First-person shooters, you may finally have a handheld home.
Every game title for NGP will be provided with a space called “LiveArea,” where users can access the latest information provided from Sony and third-party developers through PlayStation Network. Additionally, NGP users will be able to view an “Activity” log that is constantly updated with accomplishments from users who are playing the same game, which in turn can trigger active real-time communication among users.
SCE will also provide location-based services on NGP as part of the basic features utilizing PlayStation Network. The new application called “Near,” developed specifically for this service and the network, will be pre-installed in the system to let users find out what their friends in the vicinity are playing now or what they were playing recently. Users can meet their friends and new players virtually, regardless of what games they are playing, simply by sharing their game information across different dimensions of time and distance.
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.
NGP will also come equipped with two cameras on its front and rear, as well as three motion sensors, gyroscope, accelerometer and electronic compass, all of which are designed to enable users to enjoy the world of entertainment that is linked with real life experiences.
PlayStation Suite, announced today, will also closely coordinate with NGP and enable newly developed and released game content for Android-based portable devices to be enjoyed on the NGP. As a result, users will have access to not only the most leading-edge content, but also some of the more casual experiences that typify the mobile marketplace.