TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: PSP Embraced by DIY Technicians | BBC NEWS | Technology

PSP Embraced by DIY Technicians | BBC NEWS | Technology

David Chessler (
Thu, 07 Apr 2005 23:07:51 -0400

DIY software and hardware experts have been quick to embrace Sony's
PlayStation Portable console.

A glut of "homebrew" features for the device have already been released,
many of which were not part of Sony's official plans for the machine.

The PSP is a handheld console, which has wireless capabilities, and can
play music as well as video games.

Tools for web browsing and online chat are among the first to appear since
the console launched in the US and Japan.

The developments are not sanctioned by Sony but the firm has not
commented on the homebrew tools.

Messaging platform

The $249 (=A3130) PSP handheld video game player went on sale in the
United States on 24 March and within 24 hours one man had a working
client for Internet Relay Chat (IRC), an older online messaging

"I was on IRC, and someone mentioned how cool it would be to use their
PSP on wi-fi at Starbucks to talk to people over IRC. I said, 'I can
do that', so I began working on it immediately," said Robert Balousek,
creator of PSPIRC in an e-mail interview with news agency Reuters.

Mr Balousek said about 100,000 people had visited the IRC client, and
he is starting work on a new project that would let PSP users chat on
the AOL Instant Messenger network.

Hacking new video game hardware is not new but the speed at which
people have started to produce their own applications for the PSP is

Other "hacks" include a way to transfer TV shows recorded by the Tivo
digital video recorder to the PSP, a program for reading e-books and a
viewer for comics downloaded from the internet.

Racing game

While many of the tools are probably in development by Sony in an
official sense, some PSP owners just could not wait to get started.

Much of the new PSP functionality comes from using the web browser
built into the racing game Wipeout Pure, which was meant to go to a
Sony site.

By changing some of the PSP's network settings, the browser can be
pointed to an internet portal.

A number of people have already set up such portals, formatted to fit
in the PSP's screen and offering links and a place to enter web

Other "hacks" include getting the PSP to play all games wirelessly
over the internet and playing multiplayer games with only one copy of
the game.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Sony PSP handheld console hits US

The latest handheld gaming gadget, Sony's PlayStation Portable, goes on
sale in the US on Thursday.

The entertainment device, which also stores images, music and video, is
intended to compete with Nintendo's DS, released earlier this month in the

Gamers have been queuing outside shops across the US to get their hands on
the gadget, which costs $250 (about =A3132).

The first million sold will come with the Spider-Man 2 film on UMD,
Sony's own disc format for the device.

The PSP can be linked up with others for multiplayer gaming, via a wireless

Sony has touted the machine as the Walkman of the 21st Century and has
sold more than 800,000 units in Japan since its launch there last

But it faces stiff competition from the Nintendo DS, which sold more
than the GameCube in its first few days on release in Europe.

It too allows for multiplayer gaming over the air. Nintendo dominates
the handheld market, with more than a 90% share of the market in the
US alone.

The Gizmondo combined media player, phone and gaming gadget also went
on sale in the UK last week. It hopes to take a share of the handheld
gaming market too.

'Few months' for Europe

"The story of the PSP is it's not a gaming device as much as it is a
portable entertainment device," said Michael Pachter, analyst at
Wedbush Morgan Securities.

He told the Reuters news agency that he expected Sony to sell about 10
million PSPs in enough time to rival Apple's iPod.

There is no date for the PSP's release in Europe yet. Sony has
promised to have a million units ready for its US launch, but there
are fears demand may not be met.

It also said it expected to ship three million PSPs worldwide by the
end of its fiscal year ending 31 March.

The machine's European launch was put back "a few months" last week in
order to make sure enough of the devices were ready for its US launch,
as well as satisfying the Japanese market.

The PSP has almost as much processing power in it as the PlayStation 2

Hundreds of gamers gathered at US shops, some waiting for more than 36
hours, to be the first to get their hands on the gadget.

A spokesman for one US shop said it expected the device to sell out on
its first day.

The 24 games for the mini console include Ape Academy, Formula One,
Wipeout Pure and Fired Up.

Movie studios, including Lions Gate Entertainment and Disney, have also
announced forthcoming film titles that will be made available on the UMD

Story from BBC NEWS:

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