At a press event in Tokyo Sony has just pulled back the curtain on its next generation portable device, not-so-cleverly codenamed the NGP. From a quick glance, you might even think it's just a regular old PSP. But that would have to be a very, very quick glance, because there's a very important difference staring you right in the face. Right in the face, as in the right side of the system where there is now a second analog stick. And both sticks are actual sticks this time, protruding from the system slightly compared to the PSP's flush analog nub.
But that's just the beginning. The NGP sports a spiff-tacular 5-inch OLED screen, I'm sorry, OLED touch-screen. Then on the back of the system is matching 5-inch touch pad. Both of these can be used for control in menus, apps, and games for some interesting possibilities. One example shown by Sony was touching the same spot on both the front and back panels to pinch and pick up an on-screen object. I have doubts about how comfortable the NGP will be to hold while using both the touch screen and back touch panel, but it could lead to some unique gameplay. And just to throw every control method possible into the NGP, the device will also use the same gyroscopic sensors that are in the Playstation Move to allow tilt control.
But controls aren't the only thing that has changed on the NGP, so click after the jump to read what else is in store for the new system.
In addition to the new control methods, the NGP will have both front and back cameras, a microphone, built-in GPS, bluetooth, 3G, and Wi-Fi.
Now here's a little bit of news that might upset current PSP owners. The NGP won't use UMD, instead using new flash cart cartridges that look almost identical to a Nintendo DS game. Sony has said that the NGP will be able to play downloadable PSP games, though no internal storage nor memory stick slot are mentioned in the initial tech specs for the system.
The NGP is said to rival the PS3 as far as graphics, which I actually laughed when I first heard it. But then Sony brought out the demonstrations for games like Uncharted, and I must say that it's pretty darn close.
Of course, the most important details are the ones that are still missing. Namely, when can we actually play the NGP and whether we'll have to sell both or only one kidney to afford it. Sony has said more details will be revealed at E3, so June can't come soon enough. In the mean time, admire the gallery below of this sexy new handheld.