A single PlayStation Network account can be used for accessing the PlayStation Store, and you can have both a PS3 and PSP on a single account. Indeed, the Store is closely tied to the PS3: movies purchased on that system can be offloaded for viewing on the PSP, for instance.
To date, in fact, you'll first need to download your games or media via the PS3 or PC versions of the PlayStation Store. But we're hoping the rumours are true about an upcoming firmware update that will allow direct-to-PSP Store access and downloads. With Apple's App Store, which has a growing number of games, and Nintendo's upcoming DSi, which will be able to access an online DSi Shop for game downloads, the PSP deserves an equivalent service that doesn't require a clumsy intermediary.
Finally, can the PSP take the place of your iPod, iPhone or even a portable DVD player? For die-hard media junkies -- those with an 80GB iPod filled to the brim with music and videos -- the answer is basically no. But if you're looking to travel with a few hours of music or some TV programmes, it makes for a good diversion from a game, and eliminates the need to lug a second device along. And while the screen isn't as large as you'd get with a portable DVD player, the PSP is decidedly less bulky -- and its screen is considerably larger than that of the iPod or the iPhone.
That said, the small but growing gaming library available on the iPhone and iPod touch -- and the fact that those devices offer far better communications, Web browsing and media options -- means that Apple is on deck as just as big a competitor to the PSP as Nintendo currently is.
Someday, no doubt, Sony will debut a full-on PSP2, with a host of next-gen features and a more radical redesign. But for now, we've got an evolutionary upgrade of a portable gaming and media console that already had a lot going for it. Existing PSP owners won't need to run out and get this new version unless they really need the improved video output, built-in microphone or slightly more colourful screen. Anyone else need only look at the available line-up of PSP games. If playing sophisticated, graphically rich versions of games such as Syphon Filter and Metal Gear Solid, to name just two, the PSP will ensure that you'll always be entertained.
Edited by Marian Smith