Exclusive: Sony PSP Go! Storage Tech Revealed

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Sources close to Sony PSP development have hinted to Game On what Sony's planning to stick in its rumored smaller, sleeker PSP Go!. Remember this CES 2009 press release back in January? The one where SanDisk revealed a panoply of tinier, higher-speed memory products? Think those. Think specifically the trailing bullet point, the one where Sony and SanDisk "have co-developed two expanded Memory Stick formats." Think something like the Memory Stick HG-Micro, with a 60MB/s transfer rate, approximately 40MB/s faster than original Memory Stick Duo.

As for all the folks reporting the PSP Go!'s will include dedicated internal flash memory, they may want to think again.

Ask yourself this: Why would Sony bother?

Think about pricing. Think about forcing consumers to eat the extra memory cost when Sony needs to be price-competitive with Nintendo. Think about obsolescence if memory card speeds and capacities increase in the near term. 16GB of internal memory? That's pretty much nothing at all once you've pulled down a handful of movies and games and loaded up most of your music collection. Look at Apple's iPod Classic. It's sporting 120GB of storage these days.

What are the ramifications? We all know the UMD drive's never been the speediest kid on the block, though in the slimmed up PSP the new "UMD Cache" system option increased initial load times in trade for slightly less frenetic ongoing game access.

Still, the main complaints surrounding the UMD remain:

1. It puts extra strain on the battery, especially when viewing movies or dealing with data that's continuously streamed from the disc.

2. You've got to tote around all those kludgy little discs.

3. The discs themselves aren't well protected. There's no sliding "shutter" to protect the access gap in the sleeve, allowing easy scratching or ingress and trapping of particulate.

4. It's slow.

5. It's noisy as all get out. Forget playing in bed next to your loved one, something that's never been a problem with my Nintendo DS.

So you ditch the UMD, and aside from the headache it'll create for those of us with large UMD libraries (games and movies) getting things transferred, everything now resides on a bunch of physically tinier, zippier, swappable memory cards. No noise, less kludgy and more rugged physical footprint, plenty of expansion headroom, and you can upgrade at the speed of your wallet.

Now Sony just needs to ship a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers with the new system, so we're not squinting around on the ground if we drop one changing our data out.

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