With 2008 on its merry way out, "publishing sources" have leaked news of a PlayStation Portable update next year to Eurogamer. The PSP 4000, a final refresh model, will appear in late 2009, say these sources, followed by an official successor to the PSP at a later point. Make that 2011 or 2012, then, to speculate logically (and perhaps to coincide with the rumored release timeframe of Sony's PS4?).
If Sony follows precedent, bet on "PSP2" as the eventual successor's moniker.
I reviewed the last refresh, the PSP 3000, when it snuck without much ado onto shelves in mid-October. The changes were nominal, and the only two of any functional distinction were a new inbuilt mic and a brighter, more color-expansive LCD.
Unfortunately, that new LCD exchanged earlier models' "ghosting" problems for an irritating new one: interlacing. Move the viewpoint around in a 3D game on the PSP 3000, and faint black lines appear, horizontally stacked up and down the screen. It's like someone pulled a hundred-tine rake across the video feed, and once you've noticed it, it's nearly impossible not to.
A PSP 4000 would ostensibly remedy the PSP 3000's interlacing gaffe, though anything else is conjecture. A minor weight drop? Further ergonomic tinkering? I wouldn't expect much. Companies like to save their superstar features for full-family shifts, which is why some of the most head-slappingly obvious and programmatically superficial improvements in current iterations of Windows or OS X will never see light of day by way of prior version service releases.
Developers are reportedly already at work on games for the PSP's successor, says Eurogamer, which at best means they're testing computer simulations, and at worst, that someone's yanking the usual chains.
Long overdue feature request for the PSP-whatever-it's-eventually-called: Dual analog thumbsticks, please.