Wednesday, July 27, 2005

PSP 2.0 update

The new firmware update for the PSP was made available in Japan today. The thing is, no one has an exact release date for when it will be available here in the States. Some places think it will be in the next day or so ... but what can I say? I'm impatient. I downloaded the new update from Sony Japan and installed it on my PSP. This is DEFINITELY an update worth getting as soon as you can. Why? Check out these goodies:

  • Web Browser - This is a fully functional Mozilla based web browser customized for the PSP. Though Flash isn't supported at this time, the fact that the software recognizes it probably means support is coming. Tabbed browsing is a novel idea, but so far, I haven't found the controls to CLOSE a tab. The software does support animation and Javascript (with controls to enable/disable each), as well as a variety of screen formatting options. These include Normal, Just-Fit (Page width is changed to fit the PSP screen), and Smart-Fit (Page content is rearranged to fit PSP screen width). Unfortunately, data is still entered with the onscreen phonepad style entry. However, Sony did include some extras for "http://" and ".com" and other such web standards.

  • Wallpaper - Now you can ditch the standard PSP background in favor of your own custom wallpaper. Just pick a photo from your memory stick to set as a wallpaper, and the PSP will convert it to the new background image. Afterwards, you can delete the photo if you want, as the PSP saves the background independently from the original file. You can always switch back by disabling the backgrounds in the System Settings menu ... or by replacing the image w/ a new Wallpaper.

    For the record, if you want to design your own wallpapers, the PSP's standard resolution is 480x272.

  • Themes - Tired of waiting until the first of the month for a new color scheme on your PSP? Now you can pick your favorite theme to use. That's right, Ray ... you can keep your PSP pink all year long.

  • Photo Sending - Share your favorite pics or wallpapers with your friends by beaming them to friends over an ad hoc connection.

  • Photo Formats - And speaking of photos, the PSP now supports not only JPGs, but also TIFF, GIF, and BMP files

  • Audio/Video Formats - I'm clumping a lot of these updates together. With the 2.0 update, the PSP has added support for PCM WAVE files, MP4 AAC audio, MP4 video playback (without all the odd conversion requirements), and improved support for ATRAC3plus files.

  • Additional Playback Features - These include a Jump feature, A/B Repeat, 4:3 Picture Mode, and Audio Change features

  • Korean Language - Kinda self-explanatory there

There are also a bunch of standard security fixes and such, which I won't worry about listing right now. I will say though that after playing around with the new features, I'll probably be using my PSP for a whole lot more now. Sony definitely did a good job with this update.

As I said, I'm not sure when everything will be available in the States, but one of the default bookmarks on the browser is a PSP-specific page from Sony. The opening page allows you to choose your region from Europe, North America, Japan, and South Korea ... however, as of 6:00p EST, only the Japan and South Korea options were available.

It's also interesting to note that in Japan, Sony will be rolling out a service for the PSP which will allow PSP owners to download trailers and such to their PSPs for free, with an ultimate plan to allow users to download half-hour TV shows for a small fee.

And for those of you as impatient as me, the Japanese update works fine on American PSPs, and does NOT affect region-encoding for UMD movies. Basically, if you're willing to sort out the download and installation instructions to get the update on your Memory Stick, the rest is easy and painless (and in English). Just make sure the encoding on your web browser is set to Western (ISO-8859-1). It should be that way by default, but set it again just in case.

Let me know if any of you get the update, and what you think of it as well.


Jenn said...

I think it's cool even if I don't own a PSP. And the Darkwatch theme you have going on is awesome.

Lefty said...

Mind if I pick your brain on the PSP?

1. Does the PSP support flac?

2. I was thinking about buying a PSP as not just a game player, but as an alternative to an ipod. Is it too big and bulky to take to the gym? How many songs can be store on your average memory stick?

3. Is it pretty easy to connect to wireless networks, say if I want to browse the web in my local coffee shop? Any small programs, attachements coming out that I can use a PSP as a typepad/keyboard?

4. How annoying is it to have Shane as a roommate? Do you get many laughs at his Xbox playing abilities?

5. Just kidding on that last one.

WldCard said...

1. So far, the PSP doesn't support FLAC natively. However, you can get any number of conversion programs.

2. Hard to say. What defines "bulky"? It's dimensions are 6 3/4" x 3" x 1" and it weighs in at 10 oz. It's thinner in vertical width and depth than a DS, but longer horizontally. Take that however you will.

3. I've had no problem connecting whatsoever ... ever. And with the 2.0 update, it's even easier. As far as a keyboard, I don't know if you're saying you want a keyboard for the PSP or want to use the PSP as a keyboard. For the former, there aren't any keyboards at the moment, but lots of manufacturers are working on it, especially after the web browser update. For now, you bring up an onscreen keyboard similar in appearance to a phone keypad. If you text on a normal cell phone though, it should come to you quickly.

4. Well, he's okay on the Xbox, though one-on-one I kick his ass in Halo 2.