PSP to Become a Full GPS Unit?

By Mike on 1:10 pm

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Is the PSP becoming the ultimate mobile gadget? I'd say no since smart phones pocket PCs are still much more powerful and offer wider functionality. Still, Sony is now producing some rather interesting add-ons for the pocket console.

A little while ago, Sony released a GPS unit for the PSP in Japan. The device costs 6000 yen (roughly $50 US). Nobody was quite sure what it was for. Supposedly, the GPS will offer connectivity with games such as Hot Shots Golf and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. As to how it will work with these games, you're guess is as good as mine. Sounds pretty useless right? Not so. It appears that the PSP's addon GPS receiver will be able to function as a fully functional GPS device. A company in Japan, Edia, has taken up the project. Like most other in car navigation GPS unit, it will feature a scrolling street map showing your exact position. Screenshots are available on Yahoo.

What does this mean for the PSP? Well consider that most GPS receivers with display cost upwards of $300+ for the cheapest. At $250 for the set, the PSP would be the cheapest fully functional GUI based unit on the market. According to some reports, maps will be available on UMD. Maps will probably be sold with the GPS unit corresponding to the region it was sold. Once it comes to North America, I expect it will come with a Canada and US road atlas. According to Sony, additional maps will be available for purchase from the Playstation Network. The unit is in 11 different languages . You'll have to input waypoints manually. According to Sony's press release, the kit will feature mounting hardware and an in-car power adapter for the PSP.

So far, there is no word on when the device is coming to North America. It's planned to be released in Europe sometime in the Fall under the name Go!Explore.

Here's a link to the European press release.

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