Console king Sony has announced plans to take on the handheld market currently dominated by rival Nintendo's GameBoy system.
Sony laid out the spec for an all-in-one portable entertainment platform, the PlayStation Portable (PSP).
Although details are scant, the PSP is set to hit shelves late next year. It boasts a wide screen of 480 x 272 pixels, a thin film transistor LCD monitor with a backlight, and 3D-rendered graphics enhanced by curved surfaces along with conventional polygons.
Video quality will also be enhanced, with mpeg4 delivering DVD video at a low data rate. The console will also feature a USB 2.0 port for further expandability and connectivity to other devices, along with a Memory Stick slot for network applications and wireless connectivity.
But the foundation of the platform is Universal Media Disc, which comprises of a 60mm optical disc holding 1.8GB of data, packed into a cartridge.
Although the battery will be lithium-ion, some potential gamers are worried that the use of optical technology will give the machine a less than portable battery life and that Sony may be overstretching itself by trying to make the machine more than a gaming console.
"Along with game applications, PSP will have huge potential for delivering other forms of entertainment as well as live entertainment through the network, anywhere, anytime. This is the walkman of the 21st century," said Ken Kutaragi, president and chief executive of Sony Entertainment.
But observers have noted that Sony has to overcome Nintendo's 90 per cent share of the handheld market.
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