The new device, code-named "Next Generation Portable," will come with a five-inch organic light-emitting diode touch-screen display, front and rear touch panels and 3G wireless connectivity. Sony said the new machine will be available this holiday season. Pricing for the new machine wasn't immediately available.
Once hailed by a Sony executive as the "Walkman for the 21st Century," the PlayStation Portable has failed to live up to the company's own pre-launch hype. It has sold a respectable 67 million units since its late-2004 debut, but Sony's game machine has been overshadowed by Nintendo Co.'s DS hand-held which has sold twice as many units as the PSP in a similar time frame.
Japan Real Time
Sony's Event, Blow by Blow
.Sony's revamped portable game machine will face a new competitive hurdle that its predecessor did not face upon its debut. Powerful smartphones are a new threat, offering simple-to-play titles for consumers looking to kill time, and more sophisticated games that can meet the needs of most traditional videogame fans.
Its hand-held rival, Nintendo, is also about to introduce a new hand-held device next month. The Nintendo 3DS allows users to play 3-D videogames without the need for special glasses, marking the first major game machine to offer that capability. Nintendo will release the 3DS first in Japan on Feb. 26 and then in March for the U.S. and Europe.
The 3DS will sell for 25,000 yen ($304) in Japan and $250 in the U.S. at launch.
Sony also unveiled the PlayStation Suite, which is an application for Google's Android market which will run videogames of a similar quality as those played on older PlayStation consoles. Sony said the new application will be available later this year.
"We want to make possible to play PlayStation-quality games on devices other than the PSP," said Kaz Hirai, president of Sony's networked products and services group.