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PSP redesign: Fact or fiction?

Rumors of a PSP redesign have persisted almost since its debut. Will Sony use 2007's E3 show as a springboard for a new and improved PSP?

PSP Mini mock-up
One fan's vision of a possible--but completely fictional--PSP redesign

Google PSP redesign or PSP2, and you'll get tens of thousands of results (and even a few interesting homemade Photoshop jobs, such as the "PSP Mini" shown above)--a testament to the fact that many gamers, it seems, were never quite comfortable with the design of Sony's first handheld gaming system. To be sure, the PSP has its share of issues, not the least of which is the UMD format--the proprietary optical disc format is hobbled with slow load times, and the moving parts sap the PSP's battery life. Controls have always been suspect, too, with most gamers lusting for a second analog stick to better mimic the home PlayStation DualShock controller. And the dearth of onboard storage limits the device's media functions to the comparatively paltry storage of removeable Memory Stick Duo flash memory cards. At the same time, rumors of the PSP's demise have been greatly exaggerated--while it hasn't knocked dethroned Nintendo from handheld gaming's top spot, the PSP has sold well by any other measure, with a worldwide install base estimated at more than 24 million and a growing library of great games.

But hardware refreshes are par for the course in the gaming world, and the PSP--which originally hit Japan in the fall of 2004--is due for a makeover. Citing anonymous "highly placed" sources, Kotaku provided a laundry list of improvements in an alleged PSP redesign--all the way back in March 2007. And rumors of a PSP phone continue to persist as well. Whether or not Sony will unveil a PSP redesign at this week's E3 conference in Santa Monica is anybody's guess--we'll know by mid-afternoon on Wednesday. In the meantime, though, it's open season: let us know how you'd improve the PSP.