Sony slims down PSP handheld system

Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) revealed Wednesday that it plans to release a redesigned version of its PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld game system this fall. The company announced plans to introduce the slim model at its press conference at the E3 Media and Business Summit in Los Angeles.

The new PSP is 33 percent lighter and 19 percent slimmer than the original PSP model, which was first released in North America 2005. It also contains a faster Universal Media Disc (UMD) drive, used to load games and some movies, and features improved battery life.

What’s more, the new system answers one of the longest-standing criticisms of the PSP since its introduction: The new slim PSP will feature video output capabilities, so its content can be viewed on a television. The system will be able to output full standard definition video on any progressive scan TV.

Sony plans to ship the unit this September in North America in Piano Black in its “Core Pack.” It will also be available Ice Silver, bundled with the game Daxter, a 1GB Memory Stick Duo flash memory storage card and the “Family Guy Freakin’ Sweet Collection” UMD video for $199.99. Also available will be a special limited edition white PSP with Darth Vader silkscreened on the back that will come bundled with Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade, also for $199.99, coming in October.

The PSP has vied for the hearts and minds of mobile gamers since its introduction, carving out a niche for itself but unable to take away the spotlight from Nintendo’s dominant DS system. The PSP has some benefit for Mac users, as it can synchronize data with a Macintosh using USB connectivity; several third party developers have created software that enables the PSP to synchronize and exchange video, music, photos, contact and calendar information and more with the PSP.

Sony’s Web site had not been updated with information about the slim PSP as Macworld posted this article.

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