The latest rumours about the next model of Sony's PlayStation Portable are that the PSP-4000 is set to get a sliding front-screen.
VG247 reports that a trusted source has told them the "PSP-4000 is not PSP2, but rather a 'complete aesthetic overhaul' based on existing PSP tech."
PSP-4000 at GDC?
The report adds that: "much is now known by some parties of the console, which will be announced at either GDC or E3 this year."
The design is said to be very much like these photoshopped pics that have been doing the rounds on games sites and forums for months now.
PSP-4000 is rumoured to be released later in 2009.
"The rumour makes sense – Sony need a headline grabbing feature to re-launch PSP – but with no fundamental changes to the hardware or controls (especially the controls), PSP's shortcomings are the same as ever; lack of killer titles, and decent ports crippled by inability to use right analogue stick," agrees PSM3 magazine editor, Daniel Dawkins.
Sony closing Go!Messenger
Elsewhere in PSP-land, Sony's Go!Messenger collaboration with BT is set to be shut down next month because the service failed to "develop the base of users" Sony wanted.
"If Sony re-launch on the strength of the new screen (touchscreen, we hope), re-market it as a communication device (with an established communication software link to replace the now canned, bespoke, Go! Messenger service, like Skype, or some other social networking tools) and slipstream the success of iPhone, this would not only win back jaded consumers, but allow Sony to use it as a Trojan horse for – yes – games," said Dawkins.
"iPhone is doing it the other way around, but there's no doubt PSP is the superior games machine."
TechRadar contacted Sony but we were quickly told that SCEE does not comment on rumour or speculation.
"Although Go!Messenger brought innovative communications features to the PSP community, the service has not developed the base of users that we were hoping for," an SCEE spokesperson told Edge.