Sony PSP gets video downloads, VoIP and more

With the PSP you will soon be able to watch downloaded Sky TV content

Although Sony's new PlayTV has rightly taken much of the spotlight this morning, the company has also announced the Go! variant for the PSP, saying it will revolutionise the handheld gaming industry.

Go! Video Download Service

In collaboration with Sky, Sony will be bringing a Go! branded video download service to the PSP where you'll be able to download high-quality TV programming from early 2008. The choice of programmes available will include a mix of Sky content, including sports, entertainment, movies, music and animation.

In addition, Sony and Sky plan to work with third-party channel brands and content owners to offer video content from non-Sky branded services.

Interestingly enough, the download service will also allow PSP owners to purchase pay-per-view programming and any downloads can be transferred from the PSP to a PC without any additional charge.

Go! Messenger

Due for release in January 2008, Go! Messenger uses VoIP technology to communicate with other PSP users anywhere in the world. Much like Skype, Go! Messenger will be a free service that connects to any wireless internet connection.

But unlike Skype, where a separate program is needed to use the service, a future firmware upgrade for the PSP will place an application on the its XcrossMediaBar. Once connected to the internet, you'll be able to instant message your friends with the help of an on-screen keyboard, to which a headset can be connected for voice chatting and voice messaging.

If you want to make video calls, Sony has also announced the Go!Cam, which will be sold separately and attached to the top of the PSP.

Go! Explore

Also due for a 2008 release, Go!Explore is a satellite navigation package for the PSP that will see the Sony handheld take on the role of an in-car or pedestrian GPS device.

Combining the Go!Explore GPS receiver and chosen maps on a UMD, users can effectively turn their PSP into a fully-functional GPS gadget which offers turn-by-turn instructions, 100 points of interest categories, favourites, and a Day/Night Mode which Sony says will further streamline travel.

In tandem with services provided by eleAtlas and NavNGo, Go!Explore will use 3D maps and 3D landmarks to add to the experience, while supporting 11 European audio languages on each geographic version. So far, seven geographic versions have been confirmed: UK/Ireland; Iberia; France; Germany/Austria/Switzerland; Italy and Scandinavia. More versions are expected next year.

In an attempt to future-proof the service, you'll also be able to purchase updated maps and points of interest on the PlayStation Network. So far, there's no pricing information is available for any of the services.

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