Does anyone besides me see the massive potential in the upcoming Sony PSP Web Browser? Next Wednesday Sony is releasing a firmware upgrade - which is conveniently accessible via the PSP's built in WiFi - which will among other upgrades include a full-on web browser. This is pretty amazing.
First - all those hacks we saw using Wipeout Pure's included, yet very basic, web browser are now going to be standard. For example, anything on your home network that produces a web page can now be controlled via your PSP. This is pretty cool. It's something that's been available via high-end WiFi-enabled PDAs for a few years now, but the PSP is a consumer device. This means that this could become much more of a platform than other devices because of its ubiquity: Since the launch, the PSP has sold 5 million units - a large majority of them here in the U.S. - and by the end of this year (Christmas) I'm sure that number will double at least.
That's 10 million relatively inexpensive multimedia-enabled Web "tablets" in the hands of consumers around the world by YE2005, and who knows how many for YE2006. Doesn't that get your entrepeneureal juices flowing?
The key opportunity is definitely in the multimedia capabilities of the device. I can tell you from experience that the massive screen size for the PSP really makes viewing videos a pleasure. I'm not alone: It's incredible to me considering the cost and limited uses, but Sony has actually sold 4.5+ million UMD based movies so far. That's insane!!! And now with the new firmware, they're making it super-easy to download videos via the web browser. In fact, the screen shot above (via PSPMagazines.com and IGN - thanks!) is of a new service called P-TV, which is a new on-demand video service from Sony. You use your PSP Web Browser to check out videos, which download to your Media Stick and are playable immediately.
Wow. Think about that for a second! This could *easily* become the video equivalent of the iPod, and thus could make Video Blogging the Next Big Thing after Podcasting... PSPCasting anyone? Or how about the opportunity to provide websites, zines and eBooks to PSP readers? There's already a bunch of PSP-formatted "magazines" which are a bunch of images formatted for the resolution of the PSP which you download to your PSP and then use the image viewer to read. Using the browser, you can now provide those directly off your website. When's the first PSP-formatted blog going to show up?
Or maybe it'll just be the best portable client for your *own* content? I wonder when TiVo, Orb.com and Sling will start formatting the media for the PSP? That would *really* rock - no more need for an iPod, my hard drive at home will do nicely - just give me a WiFi connection and I'm all set. Me2Me baby!
It's really too bad that Sony is still keeping the platform locked up in terms of running code. I've got two PSPs now - one that will forever remain at v1.5 so I can play Nintendo games using the SNES emulator, and another that I'll upgrade to v2.0 and beyond. But that's the real next level - the day that Sony allows anyone to write games and apps for the PSP. Then it'll become a real platform.
Very cool stuff, I can't wait for Wednesday to try the browser out!