Sony will launch a new PlayStation Portable in October with a high-resolution screen and a built-in microphone that enables it to be used as a telephone, the company said Thursday.
A Sony Playstation Portatble phone
The PSP-3000, which will be available in Japan, Asia, North America and Europe, has the same basic design of the current PSP Slim and Lite, and comes in three colours -- black, white and silver.
It can be used to make telephone calls through the Skype service, which Sony added to PSPs already on the market earlier this year in an effort to broaden its appeal amid fierce competition with rival Nintendo Co.
The new PSP comes with a price tag of 199.99 dollars in North America and 199 euros (294 dollars) in Europe. The price for Asia has not yet been announced.
Sony aims to sell 15 million PSPs worldwide in the current fiscal year to March 2009.
"Demand for the consoles is still strong, especially in the United States," Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. spokeswoman Yoko Sakaki said.
Skype, which was bought by eBay in October of 2004, uses a peer-to-peer network to enable users to make free Internet telephone calls to one another through their computers, or low-cost calls to standard telephones.
Sony also announced it will launch the Wireless Keypad, which can slot into Sixaxis and Dualshock 3 controllers for the PlayStation 3, in North America in late November, followed by Japan, Europe and Asia by the end of this year.
Users can use the keypad instead of the onscreen keyboard for text chat.
Sony is also launching a new version of the PlayStation 3 console with a 160-gigabyte hard drive in November in North America for 499.99 dollars, and in Europe from November 1 with a price tag of 499 euros.