US PSP Firmware 2.0 out now

After delay, Sony releases system update for its handheld; Web browsing, wallpaper, photo sharing included in update.

Owners of Sony's handheld who have long been awaiting the official North American release of Firmware 2.0 for the PSP can let out a collective sigh of relief. The update, which was originally scheduled for August 12 and was later pushed back to the week of August 15, is now available on Sony's PSP site.

The biggest addition the update brings to the portable is a Web browser application. Now PSP owners can surf the Internet with their handhelds through any accessible wireless hot spot. Web addresses and text fields are completed through a process similar to text messaging, and the PSP can have three "tabs" open at once. The Web browser does not support Macromedia Flash-based sites.

For those using their handhelds to host digital photos, the firmware update now supports TIFF, GIF, PNG, and BMP formats. Users can also now take advantage of the wallpaper function to customize their PSPs, or they can swap photos wirelessly with other PSP owners through the photo-sharing feature.

Other additions include support for 4:3 screen mode, AAC and WAV audio files, and MP4 video files. For a full list of new features, check out the official site.

To install the update, gamers can either use the System Update function on the PSP or download the file to a PC and transfer it to their memory stick (16MB of free space required).

Sony has already toyed with the idea of another update, with the possibility of adding Flash support, more Java options, and support for external peripherals such as keyboards or mice.

The PSP has become a hot toy for amatuer programmers, who have created various unlicensed programs for the handheld. Previous updates have been found to disable such programs.

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