PSP Web Browser - UMD disc vs. firmware?

I've been following a lot of articles about the PSP launch in South Korea. There's a lot of conflicting info in them, so who knows what's true. Some say the launch will be next week, others say May 2. That's a strange inconsistency.

But these quotes caught my eye:

Online-enabled PSP to hit Korea in May
The first 100,000 units sold of the Korean PSP Value Pack will come with a Network Utility UMD and a limited-time membership for wireless Internet service, in addition to a UMD movie of Spider-Man 2.

By tapping the Network Utility UMD functionality, gamers in Korea will be able to enjoy a number of other online services in addition to games, including Web browsing, an online movie player, and an online music player.

Korean PSP Gets Web Browsing Next Week
NESPOT Internet Service Network Utility Disc UMD, which will provide TV programs and such via Video on Demand and Music on Demand through Korea Telecommunications. A Network Utility Disc, which will include a web browser, video player and music player.

That's very interesting. A lot of people, including me, were assuming that a browser would be coming to the PSP in a firmware update because of the sneak peak firmware update a couple of months ago. Now, conspiracy theorists might point to that update as being intentionally released by Sony just to give a glimpse of things to come while they're in development and whip everyone into a frenzy to build more hype. They could have included misleading items for things like Browser | Calendar | Address Book | Cancer Cure | Death Ray and the msgboards, bloggers, and press would have gone crazy.

I'm assuming those articles are true, and South Korea will receive a UMD disc with network utilities in their PSP bundle. Now, since Japan and the U.S. have the same firmware update, I bet they'll do the same with South Korea, which would mean no browser in the firmware for us, right? It seems unlikely that they would have the South Korean PSPs running a browser off UMD and have Japan and U.S. PSPs with the browser from a network update.

There's also the issue of how long was it from the Japanese launch to the 1.5 firmware update. I'm not sure that they'll push out a new update very soon.

So I asked myself, WWSD? (What Would Sony Do)

Would I:

  1. update the firmware with a browser
  2. mail UMDs to everyone
  3. make people buy one in a store

Ouch. They're a corporation whose goal is to make money. Remember, this is the company that chose to go with locked-in stuff like UMD and MemoryStick.

This is pure speculation, but the pessimist part of me thinks we're going to have to buy the browser on UMD. The question is how much would I pay for one. The even more pessimistic part of me thinks this UMD won't be cheap, based on how much movies and games cost. (I don't have an optimistic side, I think the glass is neither half-full nor half empty. I mean, the water is just going to evaporate anyway, so it's ultimately going to be empty. meh.)

If any of this stuff is true, that makes the work of these guys that much more significant: ps2dev.org and psphacks.net. If that kind of thing is your expertise, join the cause and help them out.

If this does happen, I wonder how an argument for Sony to put the browser in the firmware would compare/contrast to an argument for Microsoft to take the browser out of the OS.

Anyway, this is all speculation, and I've got the cranky pants on today. I'll probably be completely wrong in a week, it won't be the first time. I have no idea what's going to happen. What do you think? Any predictions? Heard any rumors?

Posted on Tue, 29 Mar 2005 12:28 by Seni Sangrujee (2281 day(s) old)

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