Sony unveils next-gen handheld, Android integration

Most of the gaming world figured Sony would be rolling out the successor to the PSP at its Business and Strategy Meeting being held in Tokyo – but no one guessed it would embrace the smart phone market as well. Psp2-2

The company unveiled its next generation handheld system Thursday as well as a new initiative that would bring games from the original PlayStation to Android-based devices, as Sony prepares to launch its own ‘PlayStation Phone’.

The next generation PSP – currently codenamed NGP (for next generation portable) – will feature a 5-inch OLED touch-screen display as well as a rear touch panel, WiFi and 3G wireless connectivity, motion sensors, rear and front-facing cameras and dual analog sticks (making the controls similar to the familiar PlayStation controller).

Game quality on the NGP is said to be virtually on par with the PS3. Sony showed demos of the device playing “Killzone,” “Resistance,” “Little Big Planet,” “Uncharted” and “Metal Gear Solid 4” at the event.

The NGP will be available this holiday season, though Sony did not announce pricing information. (Look for that, most likely, to come around E3 in June.)

The tie-in with Android was the real shocker, though. Dubbed PlayStation Suite, the initiative is expected to kick off this year. Current generation won’t be ported to the phones and tablets, but select titles from the original PlayStation will (though the company did not announce which).

Sony plans to open a PlayStation Store in the Android marketplace to offer the titles and will offer new and original titles that will run on both Android devices and NGP.