The PSP Go may have been the worst-kept secret of this year's E3 show, but Sony's press conference has now supplied the official details. For the most part, there's little that wasn't already revealed or correctly assumed: the PSP Go is smaller, has a slide-up screen, no UMD drive--and no game-changing upgrades, such as a touch screen or second analog stick. But the big news is that the new PSP will be available in North America on October 1 for $249.
Here's a roundup of the PSP Go's features and specs, as we understand them so far.
Form factor: The PSP Go has a 3.8-inch wide screen (versus 4.3-inch on all previous PSP models). It's said to be 43 percent lighter than the PSP 3000, which means it would tip the scales at about 3.8 ounces. The PSP Go design is very reminiscent of the Sony Mylo --the screen slides up to reveal the controls.
Storage: The Go will offer 16GB of built-in flash memory, and it's expandable via a Memory Stick Micro (M2) slot. There is no UMD (Universal Media Disc) drive on the PSP Go. While that no doubt allows for the smaller size (and, we hope, the potential for better battery life), it also means there's no way to play existing PSP software you might own on the PSP Go.
Controls: While the layout may be different, the control scheme on the PSP Go is little changed from earlier PSP models: a four-way d-pad on the left, the standard quartet of geometrically coded Sony controls (circle, square, cross, triangle) on the right, select/start buttons in the center, and the PlayStation "home" button to the left of the screen.
A second analog control is always at or near the top of wish lists for PSP redesigns, so its absence is a disappointment. At the same time, sticking with the same control scheme means game compatibility between the PSP Go and older PSPs is maintained. It remains to be seen whether the single stick's placement--closer to the center of the control deck rather than the outside right, where it sits on earlier PSPs--will be problematic for seasoned PSP gamers. That said, the Go control layout is more closely aligned to that of a traditional full-size PlayStation controller.
Despite early rumors, there is no touch screen on the PSP Go.
Wireless: In addition Wi-Fi support, the PSP Go adds Bluetooth capability to the Sony handheld platform for the first time. That should allow standard Bluetooth headsets (and, presumably, A2DP headphones and speakers) to pair with the PSP Go. In the leaked video, Sony rep John Koller also specifies the ability to tether the PSP Go to a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone. The advantage of that isn't highlighted, but that would potentially allow Web browsing and online gaming via a tethered phone with a 3G data connection (when Wi-Fi access wasn't available). Another possibility (though pure supposition) is that you could pair a PS3 controller (which is Bluetooth-enabled) to the PSP Go.
Games: At Sony's press conference, the company confirmed new PSP versions of many of its most popular franchises. Notable titles--many of which will be released in 2009--include Little Big Planet, Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, MotorStorm Arctic Edge, and SOCOM Fire Team Bravo 3. The first Resident Evil game for the PSP is scheduled to appear next year as well.