Nintendo made sure that with their new DSi they won’t suffer the same criticism that their rival Sony got when they unveiled their new PSP. The DSi may generally look similar to the DS, but bring out your measuring tape and you’ll discover that this one’s 2.6mm thinner. It also has larger screens measuring in at 3.25-inches, enhanced audio capabilities, an SD card slot, and comes with two cameras. The GBA slot, however, got the boot, but I guess that's a worthy trade-off for the added specs. A DSi shop is also in the works where users can download DSiWare using accumulated Nintendo points (formerly known as Wii points). New DSi owners automatically get free 1000 points to use until March 2010. It will become available in Japan starting November 1 for ￥18,900 (USD$180). Other markets, including the Philippines I suppose, will get it early next year. It’s about time Nintendo updated their DS console, and by the looks of it, they've done a pretty good job so far.
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You may not see much of a difference between the new PSP and the old PSP Slim just by looking at it, but once you turn it on, you’ll notice the remarkable improvement in the display on the PSP-3000. Famitsu's got a side-by-side comparison, and I guess the pictures say it all. Brighter, more vivid and rich; it puts to shame the already impressive screen of the PSP-2000. Aside from that, if you pay close attention, you’ll also notice that the PSP-3000 is a lot more rounded and has a redesigned UMD cover at the back. Yeah, we wished that it had more to offer than minor cosmetic changes and a built-in mic, but the improved display is more than welcome. So if you’ve been holding back on getting a PSP, you definitely can’t go wrong with this new iteration as it is probably the best one among the current crop. The same as with all of you guys, we’re also waiting for details as to its local release and pricing.
It looks like the concept of a PSP-phone isn’t too far fetched after all based on the report by Marketing Week. However, the possibility that it might be under the Sony Ericsson brand is looking a bit grim as Sony is looking to launch such a device under its own brand as opposed to the former. So it looks like the hype of the SE F305 being the pioneering model of the PSP-phone line has now come to an abrupt end. From a technical stand point, it makes sense to just incorporate phone functionality into the PSP since most of the gaming hardware and software isn’t readily available on Sony Ericsson phones. As a matter of fact, calling via VoIP thanks to Skype and Wi-Fi is already possible on the PSP slim so they’ll just have to do some more tweaking to integrate mobile phone functionality. From a design stand point, I’m a bit scared of what it might turn out as flashbacks of the first N-gage device from Nokia suddenly hit me. It probably succeeded as a gaming device, but failed miserably as a phone. Hopefully, Sony won't make the same mistake. Anyway, it’s still a mighty long time before Christmas 2009 which is the speculated availability date of the PSP gaming-mobile phone so don't get too excited just yet.
Taking advantage of the Nintendo DS’s touch screen interface, the Colors app turns your Dual-Screen game console into a Digital Sketchbook for your closet-artists out there. You will need an R4 Revolution Flash cartridge to make this little app work, but I’m pretty sure, most of you already have this as part of your gaming arsenal at home. The lower screen acts as your canvas, while the upper screen is the preview screen of your finished masterpiece. Just look at these marvelous renditions all done through this little wonder from Nintendo and the Colors program. Full instructions on how to install it can be found at Wired’s How-To Wiki. The software is still in a development phase so look for further innovations down the road. It's not as powerful and feature-filled as Photoshop, but it, nevertheless, is a pretty entertaining and useful program that let’s you enjoy your DS to the hilt.
This bit of news managed to slip by us with all the other happening around the net. It seems that the new PSP firmware which includes the Skpe VoIP feature has been available for download since the first week of this month. So if you don’t mind giving up your Homebrew privileges, update your firmware now for added functionality to your mobile gaming console. Of course, if you want to take full advantage of Skype you still need to get a headset which probably won't take too long to surface locally, but if you just can’t wait, I’ve seen a couple of online sites selling it already. Just remember, the 3.90 Firmware only works with the new PSP Slim so don’t go expecting in to work with just any PSP.
Ever thought of using your PSP for making international calls? Well, now you can with the made-for-PSP version of Skype. This latest iteration of the infamous IM application was unveiled at CES with Sony reps making demo calls to one another (which in reality is just a few feet away). Theoretically possible considering that the PSP is equipped with Wifi for easy connection to the web, the question now lies in how well voice encoding is done since that is now part of the arsenal of features the gaming console has. According to Kotaku, the pictured headset shown in the picture is not the finally product which is good since the author deemed it to be a bit on the bulky side. According to the press release, the Skype for PSP feature will be part of a firmware update for the PSP Slim which will be released this January 2008. The latest firmware update may turn off home-brew fanatics, but those looking for more features to cram in this gaming device will be greatly pleased to know of this latest development.
Sony has habit of making their various products complement each other. Just take a look at how their portable imaging devices all make use of Memory Sticks instead of the vastly popular and affordable SD card. The ability to seemingly integrate various products under the Sony name is one attribute which, in one way or another, makes users s bit more loyal to the brand. Now, their taking this philosophy a bit further with their gaming consoles. Sony has officially announced the availability of transferring Blu-ray movies to the PSP via the PS3. The movies will be stored on a Memory Stick (no-brainer here) which can then be played on the portable gaming device. No exact details were given as to the restriction on the copying of the movie, but expect limitations to be present. Sony has been at the forefront of the Blu-ray vs HD battle, and it seems this can only add fuel to the flame. In the reality, I’m not sure that you can actually enjoy the clarity and quality of Blu-ray on a PSP, but it sure beats the hell out of waiting several hours downloading the same copy of a movie you already have in Blu-ray format.
Here’s a another bit of news for PSP owners. The buzz around the net is that Sony Japan will be releasing firmware 3.80 on December 18 which will bring enhancements such as streaming Internet Radio player, Video scene search and RSS support for OPML and pictures. It will also allow digital video recording for those using the 1-Seg tuner which, unfortunately, doesn’t work outside Japan. While many of these features don’t really translate to improved game play, it does, however, provide the premiere portable game console of Sony some added features which might lure the novice gamer into choosing it over its Nintendo counterpart. For current PSP fanboys who don’t mind giving up the liberty of playing home-brew applications, check out this latest firmware to keep your console up-to-date with the latest features.
Trying to add more value to their portable gaming console, Sony is apparently drumming up the idea of providing direct-to-PSP downloads. As every PSP gamer knows, the built-in Wi-Fi feature of the console has been there from the very beginning, but it is only recently that users can now access the Playstation store directly without a PS3. Themes, videos and music are pretty nice, but what will really put a nice grin on every gamer’s face would be the ability to download games direct to the console. Apparently, they are already testing a working model for the system, but some security issues are still being ironed out before it goes it to full swing. With the PSP being totally man-handled by the DS Lite, it would be nice to see how consumers take new service into account when purchasing their next portable gaming device.
Mark Wilson of Gizmodo recently gave his two cents on why Sony’s PSP will never beat Nintendo’s mighty DS. He points out that while the PSP Slim enjoys its latest achievement of selling 2 million units in its first two months, the DS Lite has been a consistent top seller since 2005 with shops selling it like pancakes internationally. Total head-to-head sales of both mobile consoles clearly show the dominance of the DS over the PSP with Nintendo’s 40 million as opposed to Sony’s 25 million. But what most consumers fail to realize (or maybe not) is the fact that these two companies have different approaches to the gaming industry. Aside from the price difference between the consoles from the two opposing camps and games, they also approach console development in different ways. Sony tries to enhance the gaming experience with astounding graphics. Nintendo, on the other hand, tries to provide consumers with a whole new way of playing games with such innovations as the Wii and the dual-screened DS. This, to me, is the biggest distinction between the PSP and DS Lite which translates into the discrepancy in their sales. How about you guys, which one do you think is really the king of mobile gaming?