A new rumor today from PocketGamer appears to corroborate claims that Sony is developing a touchscreen PSP to replace the existing model. Echoing recent descriptions, a developer purportedly says the device would purportedly look "far more similar" to the iPhone but would have a slider design that tucks the control pads behind the screen when not in use. The feature would let developers write touchscreen-centric games but add support for both older PSP games and those that could use a new, second analog stick.
Accordingly, the updated PSP would emphasize downloadable games much more than the current model and, it's implied, would drop the UMD optical format entirely in favor of digital-only content. The update would appear before Christmas.
Sony has continuously rejected rumors of a redesigned PSP but has simultaneously hinted at a major strategy rethink for the PSP, hinting that downloads will form a more important aspect of the handheld console's strategy later this year and that the PSP's screen and mic are indicative of future design directions.
The Japanese firm is facing competition from multiple directions. Nintendo's DSi has just launched in Europe and the US and promises more of an emphasis on media and Internet features. Some handheld developers have also been shifting some of their attention to the iPhone and iPod touch which ngmoco has said is superior to Nintendo and Sony through its hardware and software quality.