Today 1UP (linked above) has published a report on the new PSP, indicating that the new, UMD-less hardware will ship this Fall in Japan and North America, with Sony bringing 100 PSP titles to the PlayStation Store.
Below is also also has an artists' rendition of what the new PSP Go! may look like.
To quote: Sources confirm the next PSP will gain an internal flash drive, ditch UMD, and nix the rumored second analog nub.
Rumors of a major PSP hardware redesign have repeatedly bubbled to the surface over the last several months - some claiming the removal of the system's UMD disc drive, and others pointing to a second analog stick and sliding screen.
According to sources directly involved with the new system, we have learned that Sony will quell those rumors by unveiling their revamped PSP at this year's E3 conference in June.
Many have speculated that the update would be called either the PSP 2 or PSP-4000, but our sources claim Sony will forgo a numerical moniker in favor of a subtitle.
We've heard various rumored code names for the project (including PSP Slide, PSP Flip, and PSP Go!), but given that Sony has introduced the Go! brand of add-ons (the Go!View video on-demand service and 1.3 megapixel Go!Cam) for the European PSP, it seems likely that the new system will in fact be called the PSP Go!
Our sources further confirm that this redesign will be available in two SKUs, with either eight or 16 GB of built-in flash memory. The system is set for release in Japan this September with a U.S. debut coming in either late October or early November.
In addition, since the UMD is going away, Sony will have over 100 classic and new PSP titles available for download at launch (Gran Turismo Mobile is said to be one of the premier launch titles). As for the hardware itself, the redesign will include a d-pad, analog nub, and face buttons as part of a sliding unit sticking out below the screen (as seen in our mockup above).
Unfortunately for those looking for twin-stick shooter controls, the new system will not have a second analog stick, but instead will remain consistent with the current control configuration.
When asked about any of these details, Sony, of course, stated that it "does not comment on rumors or speculation."
As a bit of actual speculation, we wouldn't be surprised to see Sony borrow many design features from their Mylo 2 handheld Internet device, which is seemingly dead in the water. This could provide an 800x480 pixel touch screen for the system, as well as a camera on the system's backside.
Between the redesign and a strong lineup of recently announced PSP titles (Tekken 6 and Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny), Sony is clearly attempting to assert their relevance in the wake of the DSi's release and success of the iPhone as a gaming platform.
It'll be interesting to see what sort of a splash Sony makes and the reaction the new hardware receives when it debuts at E3, which is only a month away. Preloading every PSP Go! with a copy of LittleBigPlanet would certainly make some waves.
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