PSP browser released in Japan; works in US

Sony Computer Entertainment releases PSP Firmware 2.0, which lets PSP owners on both sides of the Pacific browse the Web; AAC audio and graphics support also added.

Today, Sony Computer Entertainment released the long-awaited Firmware 2.0 Update for its popular handheld, the PSP. The update gives the PSP a number of new functions, including a Web browser and support for AAC files, the audio format used by Apple's iPod. The 16MB PSP update patch is available for download at Sony's official Japanese PSP Web site.

When the Firmware 2.0 Update was announced last week at the PlayStation Meeting 2005 in Tokyo, it was (presumably) meant only for the Japanese market. However, North American PSP owners were pleasantly surprised to find that the update works fine on PSPs bought in the US. Although the download instructions on the Japanese PSP Web site require some translating, the update can detect US PSP's language settings and will automatically switch to English. However, because of the amount of functionality added, installation is slightly more complex than previous updates.

PSP owners should note that the installation of the Japanese Firmware 2.0 Update on US PSPs has not been endorsed by Sony Computer Entertainment America and could potentially cause problems. Editors at GameSpot (which also doesn't officially advocate the installation) experienced no difficulties after installing the patch and were surfing the Internet within minutes. Non-Japanese speakers will have to work off of a semi-garbled translation.

Together with the release of its new PSP update, Sony has launched its Japanese movie-download service site, Portable TV. Currently, the site offers seven free movies, but its library is expected to grow to 100 free and premium selections by mid-August.

A list of new functions for PSP system software version 2.0 is as follows:

Network
-Internet browser function (no Macromedia Flash support)


Video
-Jump function (for UMD video, UMD music)
-A-B repeat function (UMD video, UMD music, videos on Memory Stick Duo)
-4:3 screen ratio mode (for videos on Memory Stick Duo)
-Audio Options switching function (for videos on Memory Stick Duo)
-Support for MP4 (AVC) playback (for videos on Memory Stick Duo)

Audio
-Support for ATRAC3, plus sound file transfer to Memory Stick Pro Duo using Music SonicStage Version 3.2
-Support for MP4 (AAC) and WAV (Linear PCM) playback (for audio on Memory Stick Duo)
-UMD music can now be played under [Music]

Photo
-Addition of wallpaper function
-Addition of image transfer function
-Support for TIFF, GIF, PNG, and BMP file formats

Settings
-Added Korean menu option
-Added character set option
-Added "Theme Setting"
-Added "Internet Browser launch restriction" in security settings
-WPA-PSK (TKIP) security format in network settings
-Settings for Infrastructure Mode under [Network Settings] were revised to be easier to use.
-Input modes were added to the onscreen keyboard.

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