PlayStation Portable to arrive in the UK on 1 September

After much delay, Sony Computer Entertainment has announced that the PlayStation Portable handheld entertainment system will be launched in Europe on 1 September 2005 almost a year after it was originally scheduled to arrive.

The PAL version of the machine will be available as a so-called ‘value pack’ costing £179 (€249). The pack will include the PSP system itself, a 32Mb Memory Stick Duo, a battery pack, headphones with remote control, an AC Adaptor, wrist strap and a video/music/game sampler disk which will include several non-interactive game demos.

Early customers who register their PSP through the official Sony PSP web site will get a free copy Spider-Man 2.

Intended to eat into the market domination of Nintendo – which currently owns the handheld gaming sector – the PlayStation Portable weighs around 280gms (around 10oz) and is equipped with a 4.3-in widescreen TFT LCD that supports up to 16.77 million colours on a 480 x 272 pixel high-resolution display. The processor is a proprietary Sony design clocked at 333MHz and runs with 32MB of main memory and 4MB of embedded DRAM.

The PSP is also fitted with stereo speakers, and a range of ports including a USB 2.0 and 802.11b Wireless LAN. The latter opens the prospect of allowing games players to connect to the Internet and communicate wirelessly. Sony says that up to 16 PSP devices can also be connected to each other directly in ‘Ad Hoc Mode’, allowing for wireless head-to-head competition. The Wireless capabilities will allow new software and data to be downloaded onto PlayStation Portable machines and saved onto a Memory Stick Duo.

The PlayStation Portable uses a proprietary disk format named Universal Media Disc (UMD) able to store up to 1.8GB of data although the disk measures only 60mm across.

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