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  Has the PSP already taken an unassailable lead in handheld clients?

First Thoughts: Increasingly we need to ask ourselves exactly what the Sony PlayStation Portable could become in the next three to five years. Could it be the salvation of Sony, single handedly in the same way that the iPod seems to have revitalized Apple?

Let's think about that for a minute. It already plays the most popular games in the world. It also plays first release films from the majority of the major studios. Recently software has been added so the memory sticks it uses can now record and replay TV programming.

You can already text (send SMS messages) with it and send the text through a Wi-Fi gateway to a mobile phone, or to another PSP. Could these be MMS messages? We don't see what's stopping them.

PSP owners can browse the web, and it's fairly obvious that shortly, when the PS3 comes out, the PS3 can act as a server for the device, for shared gaming both locally and remotely, for film storage and TV and music collections, which could be viewed at home as well as on the road, either stored on the device or through a broadband connection, offering both purchased or rented business models.

A leak as far back as January showed that the device can also be used with an email client, a word processor, a diary, a music player, a text-to-speech utility, a calculator and a spreadsheet. People are even working on a language translator, so that a foreign speaker, perhaps someone you are playing a remote game with, can simply speak and the device will translate the speech and speak in your native tongue. If such a device needs more power, then offload the speech to your PS3 and let it cut in with the Cell's power. You will be able to talk real time to anyone in the world with a PSP.

It's not yet a phone, but making it into a VoIP phone working over wi-fi is a trivial task. It has speakers and a microphone can be attached, it just needs software. Photo sharing is already enabled, so why not give it a camera as an add-on. We're sure it can already work with the existing Sony cameras.

Final Thoughts: : If this device ever marries with a cellular phone, the offspring could become the 'de facto' portable client in the same way the PC became the 'de facto' fixed client. If any other company made it, it would cost $500 or more, but with Sony's grip of the games and content markets, it can use PSP games sales and film sales to subsidize the device and put it out at $190 to $240 a price even less than the top iPods. That almost makes it impossible for anyone else to compete on the same terms.

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