On August 12, Sony released the newest and most significant update to the PSP’s functionality yet. Firmware version 2.0 adds a wide selection of options, tweaks, and features.
The most significant new feature is the addition of an Internet browser. Far from the ultrasimplistic browser that home users put together by using the online update function of Wipeout Pure, this new browser is slick, fast, and surprisingly full featured.
The other major change is the addition of themes. Rather than passively watching the PSP menu’s background color change from month to month, users will now have the option of setting the color themselves; those who don’t like plain colors can even choose one of their own photos as wallpaper.
A diverse assortment of other improvements has been made, which you’ll find outlined below. But perhaps the most significant
is the closing of various security loopholes. The burgeoning community of PSP homebrew artists—techies who design or divine ways to make the system run unsanctioned software—are looking at this tightening of security as a slap in the face, as it renders all their efforts on the previous firmware obsolete. But the PSP is a powerful, versatile system...so it’s just a matter of time before someone figures out how to teach this particular dog some new tricks.
Inside the Browser
The PSP’s new Internet browser is almost startling in its robustness. Not only does it support browser standards like bookmarks, cookies, and history, but it actually features tabbed browsing—something Internet Explorer hasn’t even gotten around to yet. Granted, it only allows three tabs to be open at once, but it’s the thought that counts.
Other notable browser features include the ability to adjust text size and language encoding; delete cookies, history, cache, and passwords; and manage the way pages are displayed onscreen. This last feature is most interesting: You can view pages in their native size, scale them to fit the width of the PSP screen, or use a feature called “smart-fit,” which displays all the page elements in full resolution but reorders them so that as little stretches beyond the screen as possible.
And if you’re wondering how you could possibly enter a complex URL with no keyboard, fear not—another new feature is an additional input mode for the virtual keypad, which presents commonly used Internet strings (like “http://” and “.com”) as single letters.
You’re just burning to know about every single update in the 2.0 firmware, aren’t you? Now you can.
*Internet browser added
*Infrastructure mode settings revised for ease of use
*WPA-PSK (TKIP) security option added
*“Go to” command added (UMD only)
*“A-B repeat” (i.e., loop) command added
* 4:3 screen mode added (Memory Stick only)
* Audio options added (Memory Stick only)
* AVC format now supported (Memory Stick only)
* MP4 (aka AAC) and WAV format now supported (Memory Stick only)
* Wireless image transfer feature added
* Wallpaper feature added
* TIFF, PNG, GIF, and BMP formats now supported
*Korean language added to system settings
*Character-set option added to system settings
*Input modes added to onscreen keyboard
How to Upgrade
If you have access to a wireless hot spot, upgrading is as simple as choosing “network update” from your PSP’s Settings menu and following the directions. If not, you’ll either need a PC and a USB-to-Mini USB cable, or you’ll need to buy a new game with the update preloaded. Visit www.us.playstation.com/psp.aspx?id=softwareupdate for details specific to your situation.
Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine.