Sony recently announced the next console in their portable line up. Codenamed the NGP, this console is like a super powered PSP. It can generate PS3 Standard graphics, Has a touchscreen on the front and a touchpad on the back, front and rear cameras, a 5 inch OLED screen, dual analogue sticks…the list of what they have packed into this beast goes on! Inside the NGP, there is a powerful quad-core ARM Cortex A9 processor and quad-core PowerVR SGX534MP4+ GPU which is why this thing is so powerful, but all that power must lead to some pretty poor battery life, which probably leads to why thats one of the only things sony didn’t mention during the unveiling.
In addition to the awesome power portrayed by the NGP, it also has 3G, Wifi, GPS and bluetooth, Sony claim that the NGP is as powerful as a PS3. Along with the new OLED Touch screen which is approximately 4 times higher resolution than the previous PSP models, it also has a rear touchpad on the back of the device. In a demo given at the press conference they featured a game in which the players finger was used to move a ball around a screen. It looked as if this person was really pushing their finger into this world and control it. Features like 2 cameras, a touchscreen and a touchpad would be great for games like Little Big Planet which is reported to be one of the launch titles. Imagine being able to really feel like you were in the world of Little Big Planet by being able to interact with Sackboy and the level in which you are trying to complete. The NGP also uses a new form of game media. They have left UMD, and rather that go completely over to digital downloads, they have made a new format of game media that looks a lot like an SD Card
Another brilliant feature which PSP lacked was SIXAXIS controls. The NGP has full SIXAXIS motion detection, which is a bit different to the regular accelerometers that you find in most smart phones today. SIXAXIS control would have been very handy for games like Loco Roco, I never found it to fun just pressing the shoulder buttons to tilt the screen.
The NGP comes with some new internal software called LiveArea which is all about connecting you and nearby gamers. You can log in (presumably with your current PSN account) and see what people are playing in your area, see their high scores and even connect with other gamers. Something very different for sony with their NGP is that its their first portable device that doesn’t use Sony’s XMB. Instead it has a new touch interface with multiple pages depending on what you are doing. Presumably the pages will serve as the categories on the XMB, but more narrowed down, Media, Games and LiveArea for example) A feature many have been waiting for on the PSP is dual analogue sticks, which the NGP has! (woo), Sony are refering to these analogue sticks as “Micro Analog Sticks”.
So all in all, this is a ridiculously powerful device that will be available this holiday season, or ‘Late 2011’ if you want to put it in the Sony way, which should also be under $599, say Sony, Lets see if they make it $598.