Targeted at professionals rather than teenagers

The original PSP-1000 was released five years ago in Japan. The competing Nintendo DS used flash memory cards for games, but Sony decide to introduce the Universal Media Disc (UMD) capable of holding 1.8GB of data, which was massive for its time.

The PSP Go introduced in October was supposed to introduce new options to the PSP line. Sold concurrently with the latest PSP-3000, it replaces the UMD with 16GB of flash memory. This allows gamers to have around a dozen games with them without having to carry around discs and swap them out when they want to play a different game.

Music and videos can also be stored, allowing the PSP Go to compete somewhat against Apple's iPod Nano. Additional storage is provided via Memory Stick Micro (M2) flash cards. 16GB is the largest size available at the moment, but there are smaller sizes available. The M2 format tops out at 32GB, and there are rumors that Sandisk is working on such a card based on 32nm technology.

The PSP Go is 35% smaller and 16% lighter than the PSP-3000. The screen is smaller, but retains the same pixel count as the PSP-3000. This allows the PSP Go to have a higher pixel density and a sharper image. Unfortunately, the battery is also smaller, and only allows for 3-5 hours of gaming.

This still makes it a viable option gaming option for commuters who carpool or take public transit and are looking for some entertainment. This is a very large market in Japan, and a large percentage of people on Japanese subways can be seen with a DS Lite. Sony is clearly targeting urban professionals more than teenage gamers.

A recent trip to Asia meant that I was faced with a 15 hour flight with limited entertainment options. I picked up a PSP Go along with a few games like Gran Turismo, GTA: Liberty City Stories, God of War: Chains of Olympus, and Rock Band. Downloading games via WiFi is pretty slow, and the best option is a broadband connection and transfer via USB cable. Charging through a USB port is possible, but a charge from an AC adapter is required if the battery is depleted.

The PSP Go fits perfectly in a suit jacket pocket, and I now find myself playing with the PSP Go whenever I'm early for a meeting or waiting in line. I used to carry around a Nintendo DS, but having all of my games loaded on the PSP Go is much more convenient.

Holding the PSP Go is a little bit awkward at first because of the sliding screen and takes a little bit of getting used to. Gamers with large hands may want to try one out for themselves before making a purchasing decision.

The biggest criticism so far for the PSP Go has been on price. NAND flash prices have doubled in the last six months due to demand from SSDs and portable media players. Price for flash memory had been forecasted to go down, not up.

A Sony representative pointed out that the PSP Go is only around $50 more than a 16GB iPod Nano, and is much more fun. However, Sony can afford to subsidize the PSP Go, since the move to digital downloads will allow the company to reduce the cost of manufacturing, packaging, and distributing games.

The PSP Go will be most attractive to highly mobile professionals who are buying their first PSP or seeking the greatest portability. There are still many people who don't have a PSP, or are looking for a better gaming experience than Apple's iPhone or the Nintendo DS Lite. Those who have an investment in UMDs or are price-sensitive will want to stick with the PSP-3000.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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