PSP: GPS, messaging, Skype, oh my!

4 Jan 2008

The Nintendo DS Lite may be outselling Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld gaming console but the PSP is gaining ground in innovative additions such as Skype functionality, which may help it gain more fans.

Prior to the huge Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2008 to be held in Las Vegas on 7 January, Sony has revealed on its own CES 2008 site that PSP owners will be able to make Skype calls, effectively turning the device into a phone – a first for a handheld gaming console.

“Call friends, talk trash to fellow gamers or catch up with acquaintances via Skype for PSP,” says the site, although this detail is slipped in nonchalantly between a list of key features for the handheld console.

No details were given on how Skype will be integrated into the PSP, whether via a firmware update or on a memory stick, but a demo at next week’s CES will reveal all.

Sony’s ‘sneak peek’ of other new features for the PSP, which will be released later this month, mentions both a messaging service and a satnav tool.

Go!Messenger will be a free software update allowing users to send voice or video messages to friends through a wireless connection either at home or in a WiFi hotspot.

The GPS navigation tool will be a combination of a GPS attachment which users will have to buy as an add-on, as well as a UMD (Universal Media Disc) containing maps and navigation software.

Another highly anticipated release for the PSP is God of War: Chains of Olympus, an action-adventure game adapted from the PlayStation 2 which aims to showcase the powerful graphics ability of the handheld console.

By Marie Boran