February 22nd, 2006, 02:19 Posted By: wraggster
More on the Nand Flash in PSP: Source Gamespot
Source: Taiwanese computer-trade news Web site Digitimes.com.
The official story: "At this time we have made no new announcements regarding the PSP system."--Sony rep.
What we heard: Even though it was supposedly a holiday stateside, a lot of news went down on February 20. News like a report out of Taiwan saying that Sony is preparing a version of its PSP with a whopping 8GB of built-in flash memory.
"According to market sources, Sony plans to release a version of its PSP (PlayStation Portable) using NAND flash from Samsung Electronics in the second half of this year," read the article. "Although recent reports stated that Sony would opt not to use NAND flash in the next version of its PSP, and would instead use a microdrive, the sources indicated that Sony was stalling to negotiate better pricing from Samsung."
To Sony fans, a PSP with 8GB of flash sounds almost too sexy to bear. Besides being able to play games and UMD movies, the device would be able to store twice the audio files of a 4GB iPod Nano. Furthermore, an 8GB PSP would let owners pack a large amount of video content onto the device. That capability could potentially boost Sony's Connect download service, which will offer PSP-optimized video content and games when it relaunches next month.
However, there are two big reasons why Sony wouldn't want to release an 8GB PSP. The first reason is piracy. Already, tech-savvy owners of the handheld are finding ways to rip multiple DVDs onto PSPs equipped with 1GB and 2GB Memory Stick Duos. The trend has been cited as a factor in declining sales of movies released on Sony's proprietary UMD format, which the PSP plays.
The second obstacle to an 8GB PSP is price. Currently 4GB flash-memory modules, which are used for data storage for items such as digital cameras, go for around $150. Using that price as a yardstick, an 8GB PSP would cost at least $550--way out of most gamers' budgets. "An 8GB microdrive seems like a possibility, but that's still some mad coin," said GameSpot Hardware editor Sarju Shah. "8GB anything is going to add a substantial dollar value to the end price."
One theory is that the Digitimes.com article's reference to "8GB of NAND flash" is a typo. It would be more plausible that Sony would release a PSP with 8Gbits, or 1GB, of memory built in. Besides limiting the PSP's storage capability--and therefore its capacity for piracy--it would keep the device's cost low. The $299 PSP Giga Pack, which bundled a PSP with a 1GB Memory Stick Duo, was so popular over the holidays that it sold out at many locations.
However, there is also the competition factor. Sony has looked on with envy as Apple's wildly popular iTunes service has become the standard for audio and video downloads. It would take a bold move for Sony to steal a sizable slice of Apple's 70-80 percent share of the digital music market. And an 8GB PSP would be a bold move indeed.
Bogus or not bogus?: Hopefully not bogus, but we're not getting our hopes up.
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