I’ve been tinkering with the PSP firmware and there are a lot of new things with this new version:
- Themes and Wallpaper—While the monthly background color change that was the only option with previous versions of the firmware remains as the “Original” theme, you can now select any of the 12 colors as your default theme as well. Also, you can navigate to Photo—>Memory Stick, choose any of your pictures and click X to display the picture. While it is displayed, hit the Triangle button and choose Set as Wallpaper from the control panel to make that image the background wallpaper image for your PSP’s main control interface.
- Transfer pictures via WiFi—While you are viewing a picture, you can also hit the Triangle button and select send to attempt to send the picture to another PSP. While either having the Memory Stick selected under Photo or one of the folders in your Memory Stick selected, you can hit the Triangle button and choose Receive to receive images from other PSPs. This file transfer over WiFi feature unfortunately doesn’t seem to work with Videos or Music, but that’s to be expected. The good news is that it most likely won’t be too difficult to trick the PSP into thinking that your computer is another PSP; WiFi transferring of pictures between your computer and your PSP probably isn’t that far away.
- New Security—Now there’s support for both WPA and WEP WiFi security (before, there had only been WEP). Also, there is a new Internet Browser Start Control Password to work with parental controls to block access to the new web browser.
- Web Browser—Not only can you browse the web rather nicely and set up book marks. You can also edit webforms (I posted to this site earlier with it), You can also download pictures from websites you visit and then set the picture as your wallpaper. I haven’t tried it yet, but I would bet you can download video as well. I need to test to see if I can download attachments, like Word documents, etc. I may not be able to open them on the PSP, but if I can download them, that at least is something. The screen looks great for web browsing. Flash doesn’t work, but who cares?
I wish the analog stick would let you scroll up and down and around the page. Right now, the analog stick lets you move around the contents of the current screen, panning and scanning from left to right, but to move up and down a page, you have to use the directional keypad to jump erratically between links.Update: Holding down the Square button allows for scrolling around the page with the analog stick. Also, the browser supports tabbed browsing. You can only have 3 tabs, by the looks of it, and you cannot seem to launch a link into one of the tabsyou can only launch links in tabs by bringing up the browser’s interface (Triangle) and selecting File then Open Link in Different Tab, but this could be useful for keeping webmail open in the background while you surf around. Or for surfing on one tab, while posting to your website in another. However, that’s the Achilles heel of the PSP web browser: text entry. Once there’s a nice little USB keyboard that works nicely with this, it is going to kill.
These are all my early first impressions. Check back for more later.
UPDATE: Downloading files—Here’s what I just did. On my PSP, I went to this page, which is where Rocketboom provides PSP and 3GPP ports of all their vlogs. Really cool. Now, I selected one of the formatted for the PSP videos with the mouse and hit the Triangle button, which brings up the browser interface. Select the control on the far left, called “File”, hit the X button, and the 3rd option down is “Save Link Target.” Choose this option, hit X, change the Destination field to /MP_ROOT/100MNV01, then click X to confirm that you want to save in that folder, then select Save and hit X again. The download will begin. Hit the Home button, go over to Video, select your Memory Stick and hit the X button. The file should be there. Click X and play. Who needs a computer? It looks like you can also save files to the Music folder, a Common area, and a few other spots. Pretty cool.
‘NOTHER UPDATE: Okay. It doesn’t look like it worked after all. The file was downloaded and the next time I connected my PSP to my computer it was sitting there, but the .mp4 at the end of the file wasn’t capitalized so it didn’t show up on the PSP. After capitalizing it myself it showed up as corrupted data. Hmmm. Rocketboom problem, or downloading problem?
NEXT DAY UPDATE: So I spent some (probably too much) time last night, lying in bed surfing around the net on my PSP. The web-browsing capabilities on this thing are sweet: Much faster than my Palm LifeDrive, my old PocketPC, or any of the various PDAs and little non-computers that I’ve tried surfing the web with in the past. As I mentioned before, there is tabbed browsing (with only 3 tabs) and you can open links in one of the available tabs. You can also download files to the PSP and, unlike my LifeDrive, the PSP will accept downloads of file types with which it isn’t familiar. Last night, I downloaded several pictures from my Flickr page (and I then made one of these pics the wallpaper for my PSP), I downloaded a few podcasts and MP3s (and then navigated over to Music and listened to them immediately), and I downloaded a few Word documents and a few PDFs to the Common folder of my Memory Stick. I couldn’t access these files via the PSP, but they are there and ready for viewing the next time I plug my PSP into my computer. UPDATE: Forgot to mention that it works with Bloglines too.
The only downsides I’ve seen with the web-browser is the lack of Flash-support and that some rather crowded sites give you a “Not enough memory” error when you navigate to them, but 9 times out of 10, the site still loads after you cancel out of the error. Also, if you are going to use the PSP as any sort of real web-capable device for long periods, you’re going to want to invest in a few backup battery packs. This thing devours battery life when surfing.
Things I haven’t tried yet, but which look promising:
- Evidently the new firmware can play iTunes AAC files, (the non-DRMed type) as long as you change the .M4A to .MP4 (which you can do on the fly as you download the files).
- There’s already some new homebrew projects for v2.0 emerging. It’s not emulators or games launching on the PSP itself, but it’s a pretty cool means of packaging your text documents for easy reading via the web browser. No more need to convert all your text documents to JPEG!
- Use Gmail as 2GBs of remote PSP storage accessible via the browser. Nice.
Also, Dave’s iPaq has a video of how to grab podcasts with the PSP for those of you who are interested in the step-by-step. And, thanks to R.J. in the comments, I now know of a new place where I can get some nice backgrounds for my PSP.
NOTE: More browser specific features are discussed in this later post.