Prior to today, everything we knew about the next Playstation handheld referred to it as the Playstation Portable 2, or PSP2. Now we know that Sony is calling it the NGP and it's more powerful and cooler than we anticipated.
As expected, the device includes dual analog sticks, an organic light emitting display (OLED) with touch support, and the standard d-pad, four buttons, and shoulder buttons. That much was anticipated, but it's nice to hear a confirmation.
Beyond that, the device has WiFi compatibility, and 3G support from an as-yet-unannounced service provider. It will also use an accelerometer, gyroscope, and internal compass as well as an internal GPS, putting it within spitting distance of the functionality of cutting edge mobile technology.
As far as the nuts and bolts go, there are a few unexpected tech points to make. For starters, there's a touch pad on the rear of the device in addition to the OLED touch support. What could you possibly use a rear touch pad for? Software developers will find something, I'm sure.
Games will come on flash-based memory cards, making this the first non-Nintendo cartridge-based handheld to come out in quite some time. UMD games will not be compatible with the NGP, but all PSP content from the Playstation Network (PSN) will be, including all PSP titles, PSP minis, PS One classics, videos and comics.
The NGP includes a microphone and bluetooth device support as well as full PSN interactivity for trophy support, friends lists, and activity logs, so expect to be using this as a multiplayer device. The NGP will also debut the "LiveArea" function to find players you don't know playing nearby. The NGP also includes a front and rear facing camera, though tech specs were not yet released.
The NGP is going to be an awesome device if it lives up to its tech potential. Already announced have been franchise updates for Uncharted, Killzone, LittleBigPlanet, Call of Duty, Resistance, Hot Shots Golf, and several others. The NGP will be released in late 2011. There is not yet a price.