Source: French site 01Net.
What we heard: Sony has been forthcoming with how its Next Generation Portable will look and feel in gamers' hands, but the system's horsepower largely remains a mystery. With (since refuted) reports indicating that the NGP will be as powerful as the PlayStation 3, a new report from 01Net indicates that Sony has scaled back the handheld's technology.
According to the French media site, Sony has informed its development partners that the NGP will include 256MB of RAM, down from the 512MB the company initially planned to include in the system. VRAM has been similarly halved, with video memory now expected to come in at 128MB. To make up for this reduction, Sony has reportedly scaled down the size of the NGP's operating system, as well as opened up an additional 26MB of RAM for data that requires quick access.
Sony has also reportedly ditched plans to include 16GB of internal flash memory. Instead, the electronics company is said to be planning an external memory solution along the lines of an SD card or Memory Stick Duo. 01Net's sources indicate that this memory format--sold initially by Sony--will include security measures to prevent piracy, which has plagued the PSP.
01Net claims that the impetus behind scaling down the NGP's memory was to keep the cost of the system down. 01Net affirmed previous rumors that emerged from a Ubisoft survey, stating that Sony is preparing two different NGP SKUs. A version with 3G wireless connectivity will reportedly cost $350. A $250 version will also be offered, and while it will maintain Wi-Fi connectivity, it will not benefit from 3G capabilities.
Lastly, 01Net's sources addressed Sony's launch plans, saying that the system is still on track to launch in Japan by year's end. The West is a different matter, though, with the website saying it has been told to expect an early 2012 launch outside of Japan.
The official story: Sony had not returned GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus: Leaning not bogus. 01Net was the first to report increasingly convincing rumors that the Wii 2 will include a tablet controller. Further, Sony does have a track record for scaling down its hardware prelaunch, having substantially downgraded the PS3's specs between E3 2005 and E3 2006.