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Sony has confirmed the next PSP will be called PSP4000. Initially, the name suggests an incremental update, thinner form factor perhaps, maybe a longer battery life and better screen resolution. Nothing earth shattering.

However there have been rumors stirring that the PSP4000 might well turn out to be the PSP2. Currently it is slated for a before-Christmas release date, but word is mum on whether it is the next generation of Sony’s popular handheld game console or just another ho-hum update to an aging platform.

PSP4000

Sources from game developers say the next PSP will be very similar to the iPhone/iPod Touch that Sony would publicly admit. It will be in a similar form-factor (AKA thin and lightweight) but with a slide screen which will reveal a d-pad and, get this, dual analog controls! The screen will also be touch-capable.

Sony has no option but to give in to consumer trend. Touchscreen and gaming makes a wonderful combination and this is evidenced by Nintendo DS’s wild success despite having less raw power than the PSP and the iPod Touch’s meteoric rise as a renegade casual gaming platform. Do we even dare to venture so far as to suggest the PSP2 might even include an accelerometer? Those things are dirt cheap these days anyway.

PSP2

The new system will also get rid of the clunky and useless UMD drive and all purchases will be made online ala the iTunes Store.

The acceleration of PSP2’s launch is most probably caused by Nintendo’s DSi refresh and iPhone’s success in the handheld gaming market. Sony has learned the hard way that the winner is usually the one who started the race first and we can be sure that they will be working hard to make sure the PSP2 starts the race instead of playing catch like they did with the PS3 vs Microsoft’s Xbox360.