Sony is redoubling its efforts when it comes to the PlayStation Portable, the new handheld system introduced in the U.S. earlier this year. The system itself will see minor hardware and firmware upgrades soon, and a speech by new Sony CEO Howard Stringer cited the PSP as a cornerstone of the newly reorganized company's plans.
The system upgrades will come in the form of a new battery, which can be switched out with the PSP's existing battery to offer longer life. The new battery pack will feature about 20% more capacity, and will retail for 5300 yen ($46.38 USD) when it's released on October 27th. No U.S. or European release for the battery has yet been announced.
Beyond that, a new version of the system firmware has been released in both Japan and the U.S.; version 2.01 offers no new functionality but patches up a security hole in version 2.0 of the firmware that allowed hackers to run unsigned code off of Memory Sticks. The firmware is not an automatic download, but if past security updates are any indication, version 2.01 will soon be mandatory to run future PSP game releases.
Larger news for the PSP came during Sony CEO Howard Stringer's speech at CEATEC (Confirmed Exhibition of Advanced Technologies), a tech exhibition in Japan. Stringer played up the PSP during his address, saying that users "will soon be able to deploy the device's built-in WiFi, to watch video from home entertainment terminals, anytime, anywhere in the world."
The device is also planned to synchronize with home DVR devices using larger-capacity memory sticks, allowing users to watch recorded television on their handheld. No mention was made of the rumors that a new iteration of the hardware with built-in hard drive will be released in the near future.