Monday, March 20, 2006

The UMPC will destroy Sony's PSP

Ultranauts writes:

No one else will say it. But I will.

The Ultra Mobile PC is a Sony PSP killer. It’s pretty obvious, really.

For all of Sony’s consumer equity with the word “PlayStation,” it is becoming obvious the Sony has its eye on bigger prizes beyond the “Play” part of their #1 brand. Increasingly, Sony seems to be focused on the “lifestyle benefits” that the PSP can deliver — music, movies, web surfing and the like. Maybe they should have rebadged the PlayStation as the LifestyleStation. Or the UMPCstation… because that’s what the little PSP is looking more and more like. Well, an infererior version of the UMPC anyway.

Am I being purposefully inflammatory? You betcha! it makes for a better headline. However, the bottom-line is that the main criticism of the PlayStation Portable is that there aren’t enough games for the system (especially good ones)… That Sony has chosen to take on the iPod and PMPs instead of giving the Gameboy and the Nintendo DS runs for their money. In fact, games don’t seem to be a real focus for the PSP at all. Most retail releases for the system are movies and music videos, available for purchase on proprietary UMD disks. Indeed, the PSP’s advertising and marketing campaigns seem more focused on winning over Apple enthusiasts than they do on winning over gamers. Congratulations Nintendo!

It’s actually fine and dandy that the PSP caters itself as an all-in-one entertainment/lifestyle device these days. Personally, the less gadgets I have to walk around with the better. And as an all-in-one, the PSP really does do a fine job. But, as is the whole point of this article, the PSP will get trumped by the UMPC, a vastly superior all-in-one “lifestlye” device. Now, if Sony had chosen to focus on games in the same way Nintendo has with its new portables, there would be no contest: the PSP would be a superior gaming machine. Hands down. Arguably, ithe PSP is simply a competent gaming machine (and mainly due to a lack of stellar content and a compromised set of controls). The PSP is probably only slightly ahead of what the UMPC can do in the gaming arena.

It’s all those other “lifestyle” areas where the UMPC will reign supreme. Let’s make a quick comparison:

UMPC Pros:

Bigger screen
Built in hard drive
Touch screen
Superior connectivity options
A vast applications library to leverage
PSP Pros:

Smaller than UMPC (but not small enough to slip in a pocket)
Additional face buttons
Initial cost (no storage, however)

Battery life
Dedicated homebrew/hacker community
Based on just that quick comparison, I’d say that the pros of the UMPC make it a vastly superior device when compared to the PSP. Sony actually lists Photos, Music, Video, Games and Internet (and in that order) as the secret combination that make it a “portable entertainment revolution.” I see nothing on that list that the UMPC can’t do too (and do better, save one). The UMPC is likely to destroy the PSP in 4 out of 5 of those (and do ok at the gaming one). Just looking at the basic specs around the UMPC’s 7″ screen and its modest HDD, the UMPC is clearly positioned as the new king of the all-in-one portable entertainment hill.

And we haven’t even talked about productivity applications such as email, PPT and VoIP. But we’ll save that for another day.


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