Sony Warns Against PSP Update

Sony Computer Entertainment has cautioned users of its recently-launched PlayStation Portable (PSP) against installing a software file currently available on some enthusiast Web sites. The file at first glance appears to add several new features to the handheld gaming device when installed but the result is quite different.

"We have become aware that there is a software program going around on some Web sites and Internet bulletin boards claiming to be an update file that rewrites the system software of the PSP hardware," says Nanako Kato, a spokesperson for Sony in Tokyo.

"This software has not been issued officially by [Sony] and does not function properly. We advise our users not to execute or apply the program as it will cause the PSP hardware to stop operating," she says.

Dummy Data Only

The file appeared last week and was obtained from a Sony server, according to enthusiast Web sites that first reported its existence. Screenshots of the file installation process show it promises to add functions such as an e-mail client, Web browser, voice chat, a calculator, text to speech reading, a word processor and/or spreadsheet, scheduler, and the ability to work with the SonicStage digital music software.

Kato confirms the file was created by Sony engineers and was produced for developers but says it contains dummy data. "It is not supposed to be used at this time," she says.

Users who have applied the file can get their PSP repaired by returning it to Sony. However, the company will charge for the repair service.

Sony launched the PSP in Japan on December 12 to long lines and strong demand. The company sold around 200,000 units--the entire amount initially sent to shops -- on its first day on sale and demand has remained strong.

As of January 9, sales of the PSP in Japan totaled 544,304 units, according to Media Create, which gathers sales data from retailers. Shortages have eased since launch and on Sunday a unit could be purchased with no problems at both of two retailers visited in Tokyo.

Sony is planning to launch the PSP in the U.S. and Europe before the end of March this year.

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