Although a Sony website last week hinted at Skype functionality for the PSP (PlayStation Portable) handheld gaming console, the company has today confirmed that this is indeed the case and the service will be available from late January.
A software update for the PSP will enable VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) on the console by adding a Skype icon to the menu from which users can log into their Skype accounts and make calls, or register for Skype from their PSP.
Using this service, the PSP will effectively double as a mobile phone as Skype users can make free calls to other Skype members or call any other mobile or landline number by buying Skype credit.
In order to make calls, PSP owners must have an audio headset, a wireless internet connection and a memory stick inserted in their PSP console.
However, Sony is only making this available for the latest PSP model: the PSP Slim and Lite so older models will not be able to run the Skype software update.
With 246m members already subscribed to Skype, Sony has opened up the PSP to many more potential customers who can now mix serious mobile gaming with voice calls.
Skype is already available on several mobile devices including the 3 SkypePhone and all handhelds running Windows Mobile.
By Marie Boran