PSP buzz

Kenji Hall

The new features for Sony's PlayStation Portable were hardly out of the box before the rumor mill went into overdrive. Now comes talk that Sony is working on a new handheld console that might do oh-so-much more than the PSP, which was released in December 2004. No word from Sony yet, and who knows what will emerge from E3 in Los Angeles next month.

Several PSP fan sites think a new portable machine would abandon the UMD player (that's the slot on the back that plays movie and game disks) in favor of a built-in hard-disk drive; come with a video camera and microphone for recording those precious moments and playing interactive games; and let you store data on a flash-memory chip.

Then again, Sony's games chief Ken Kutaragi already is already turning the PSP into far more than just a gaming console. At a PlayStation update meeting in Tokyo in mid-March, he ran though all the new hardware and software add-ons, such as GPS, a video camera, and Voice Over Internet Protocol. And Sony has recently begun selling in Japan a video recorder that allows you to stream directly to your PSP. Sure, the PSP has its shortcomings (a bit bulky, no keyboard) but Kutaragi's done wonders giving techies a truly multimedia gizmo.

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