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Sony PSP developer interview (Part 2) - LCD and Battery Life
Download PSP Games for Emulator and Sony PSP consoles!

Mr Izumi Kawanishi, head of Sony's Network System Development Section, discusses the details of the PSP's 4.3" widescreen LCD display and battery life.

For those who missed it, Part 1 of the interview can be found here .

Mr Izumi Kawanishi

  • Head, Network System Development Section, Research and Development Division, Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Key figure in development of hardware for Playstation 2, Playstation Portable and other systems at Sony Computer Entertainment


(C)2004 Sony ComputerEntertainment Inc. All rights reserved.

Q: When I saw the PSP in the flesh for the first time, my first impression was that the LCD display is really big. Was the size of the LCD display given a high priority during development?

Kawanishi: It's the trump card of the PSP design.

Q: The PSP has a 16:9 widescreen TFT LCD screen. Why did you decide to use a wide display?

Kawanishi: Although most recently released TVs have 16:9 screens, game software has continued to be developed in the old 4:3 format. We wanted to break away from this situation (the 4:3 format). 16:9 displays are the way of the future. Although there are a lot of people who enjoy games in the 4:3 format on the Playstation 2, the PSP is an all-in-one unit and, therefore, not tied to a 4:3 display. Based on this, we took on a challenge and went with a 16:9 display. As the PSP is a self-supporting/independent unit, it was possible to advance to the next generation.

The fact that we were able to realise such a big screen will have a signifcant impact on the games developed, I think. Therefore, if you make a realistic game, you can be immersed in that world or, with a lighter game, you can play it anywhere and anytime. I think the possibilites for game content will expand as a result.

Q: Please tell us the details behind the decision to make the LCD display 4.3" in size.

Kawanishi: We placed a lot of importance on the LCD specifications and screen size as we wanted it to be something that customers would regard as beautiful. Of course, there are also mobile phones and PDAs but we didn't want to compromise and be in a situation where people would say, "it's small so this is about all it can display". For a specification for a screen that is small yet still satisfying, surely this size is the only choice? We think that this is the minimum size that can meet the specification to display SCE games, as well as other types of content.

Q: Did you use any methods to make the LCD display appear bigger? For example, the design is such that the LCD just fits into the main unit and I felt that this made the screen appear bigger.

Kawanishi: No, actually it was the other way around. The size of the LCD size was decided and then, while trying to keep the PSP as small was possible, we integrated all the various functionality. I think it would look a bit strange if the support frame had to be bigger. That's why the size of the LCD was a relatively important point, I think.

Q: With a screen this big, there is the worry that it will be damaged or scratched. Have you take any measures to counter this?

Kawanishi: We plan to apply a protective coating to the face of the unit (in contrast to the demo systems displayed at the Tokyo Game Show) .

Q: Will it be possible to adjust the brightness of the display?

Kawnishi: Yes, fine adjustment will be possible.


(C)2004 Sony ComputerEntertainment Inc. All rights reserved.

Q: Concerning the rechargeable battery, was the decision to use a removeable battery and not an internal (non-removeable) one made at the start of development?

Kawanishi: Yes, that's right. With a removeable battery, you can remove it and replace it when it runs out. If you became unable to use the PSP at the same time, it would be a little sad (i.e. if the battery was internal and non-removeable).

Q: Will you sell reserve batteries as well?

Kawanishi: Yes.

Q: How long will it take to charge the battery fully?

Kawanishi: I can't give you an exact answer yet but it's not like it will take many hours. You can charge the battery pretty quickly. Recently, mobile phones can be charged pretty quickly, right? Well, (the charging time will be) in that region. (Editor: About 1-2 hours?)

Q: There is an element of uncertainty regarding the heat that will be generated by the battery and the spinning UMD media. How is that situation?

Kawanishi: We have included counter-measures precisely for that purpose. The body may become a little warm but it will not be a problem.

Q: For those times, for example, when you are playing a game on the train and have to stop, is there a resume function?

Kawanishi: The program's composition will actually determine in what way this can be done. Whether you will be able to save a game state and restart from that point is something that will depend on the software maker's methods. We plan for the PSP's main software to operate in this way though.

Q: Regarding the battery, the point we're most anxious about is the battery life. How long will it last?

Kawanishi: It will depend on the software being used. There are many different uses for this device - for example, you could watch a lot of movies or use wireless lan a lot - and the battery life will change quite a bit depending on how it is used. We're currently in the process of fine-tuning the way the software will be made in conjunction with software makers (to maximise battery life).

Q: I assume that the battery life will be consumed quicker the more you use the UMD drive or wireless LAN?

Kawanishi: Yes, because that's a fundamental principle. (laughs)

Q: For example, the PSP will also be able to deal with video content - will you be able to watch at least one movie?

Kawanishi: Of course, that's the mimimum requirement. The battery will last quite a bit longer than that.

Q: Is the standard method of battery charging with it inserted in the PSP? Also, will you be able to charge the battery while playing a game?

Kawanishi: The battery will be charged while it is in the PSP. Charging will be possible (while playing a game connected to the AC adapter). At the moment, we have no plans to sell a separate charger. Charging will occur in a cradle-like device.

Q: Will the cradle be sold separately?

Kawanishi: There are terminals to the side of the AC adapter connector. They are for the cradle. (Editor: Did he just avoid answering the question?!)


Sony PSP Developer Interview

Part 1
- Hardware design finalised

Part 2
- PSP LCD size and beauty were critical
- Battery life under final adjustment

Part 3
- PSP UMD game boot-up time of same order as PS2
- PC management of MemoryStick saved data possible
- Network connections? - no problem