TGS 06: Sony debuts PSP GPS

PlayStation Portable GPS receiver shown to the public for first time; no touching allowed.

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TOKYO--One of the anticipated products at Sony Computer Entertainment's TGS booth was the PlayStation Portable's GPS receiver, which is coming out in Japan in just two months on December 7. The peripheral was available for viewing by the public for the first time at Sony's TGS booth. But, unfortunately, an eyes-only experience was as far as it went. Four PSP units with GPS receivers were on display in a showcase, but they weren't available for hands-on and photography was strictly prohibited.

Sony's GPS unit for the PSP was shown off to the public at TGS.
Sony's GPS unit for the PSP was shown off to the public at TGS.

From what we saw, the PSP's GPS unit seemed fairly portable. The receiver is extremely compact at less than two square inches (45mm x 41mm x 17mm), meaning it's a little bigger than an average person's thumb. Plus it supposedly only weighs 16 grams, which is about half an ounce (0.56oz).

While there wasn't any new GPS software at TGS, we got to see the four titles that Sony announced will support the GPS unit last month:

Minna no Golf-jou (SCEI, 2007) Minna no Golf-jou is a spin-off of SCEI's popular Hot Shots Golf series, and it functions as a map utility for real golf courses. The software includes data of all golf courses in domestic Japan and lets the golfer check out everything from his distance to obstacles, as wells as the greens. The software can also be used as a management tool for keeping track of score data.

Note the relative size of the GPS unit compared with the PSP itself.
Note the relative size of the GPS unit compared with the PSP itself.

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Konami Digital Entertainment, December 2006) Metal Gear Solid's new PSP action adventure game will make use of the GPS receiver to search for and collect new characters that can be recruited as soldiers.

Planetarium Creator Ohira Takayuki Kanshuu: Home Star Portable (Sega, October 2006) Sega's constellation navigator is coming out two months before Sony's GPS receiver, but it's going to have support for the peripheral. Using the GPS receiver, players can acquire their current location and display the exact stars that they should be seeing up in the sky.

Navigation Soft (Edia, December 2006) This standard car-navigation software features all the roadmaps in Japan. Aside from searching for car and walking routes, the software can also be used as a directory to search for nearby shops and other facilities. The maps and database can be updated using the PSP's network capabilities.

Here it is on a white PSP.
Here it is on a white PSP.

Product detail:

Sony PSP GPS Receiver (PSP-290)

Release date: 12/07/2006

Price: 6,000 yen ($51)

Comes with case accessory

Hardware specs:

Reception Frequency: 1575.42MHz (L1 ban, C/A code)

Reception System: 20 Channels

Reception Sensitivity: Following: -153dBm, Captured: -140dBm

Position Update Interval: Approximately 1 second

Position Precision: 5m (2DRAMS, -130dBm)

Hardware size: 45mm x 41mm x 17mm (Width x Height x Depth)

Weight: Approximately 16 grams

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