Sony adds Web browser to PSP

Software upgrade for the PlayStation Portable includes a Web browser and upgrades to audio and video functions.

Sony is enhancing the PlayStation Portable with features that include the addition of a Web browser to the operating software, the company announced on Wednesday.

The firmware 2.0 upgrade is designed to let users surf the Internet from hotspots using the device's built-in Wi-Fi functions. In addition, the upgrade features Wi-Fi security, tools for photo sharing and enhanced video and audio playback. The software can be downloaded from the PSP Web site directly to the PSP via a wireless connection, or downloaded to a PC and transferred through a USB cable.

The game console has sold 1.95 million units in North America since its launch in March , Sony said. It is priced at $249.99. Currently, 35 games, as well as 125 feature films, TV programs and videos are available for the PSP on the universal media disc. Sony has been fiercely competing against Microsoft and Nintendo in the game device market .

The PSP's Web browser can be used to access Web-based e-mail accounts, as well as other Web sites, on the color TFT LCD display, Sony said. The official system Web site has been designed and created for the PSP Web browser. The site hosts information about PSP games, UMD movies and downloadable content such as games and movie trailers.

Users can receive wallpapers or photos from other PSP systems via wireless connections and save them on their desktop displays. The upgrade also features enhanced audio playback options including the support of MP4 and WAV (LPCM) formats, besides video playback options.

"By allowing consumers to wirelessly surf the Web, personalize their PSP and access and share new audio, video and image formats, PSP continues to evolve the entertainment experience out of the home," Andrew House, executive vice president at Sony Computer Entertainment America, said in a statement.

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