PSP

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The Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) is a portable video game device and movie player. Released in May of 2004 in Japan and March 2005 in the US, the PSP includes has quickly become the most popular next-generation portable gaming device in the states slightly edging the Nintendo DS. In Japan, on the other hand, the DS is outselling the PSP by almost 3.5 to 1 (Japanese Sales Charts, 2006).

The PSP features a 4.3" widescreen LCD with a 480x272 pixel resolution. Behind that screen is a dual-core 222MHz R4000 CPU. The CPU has been successfully overclocked to 333MHz, but Sony does not allow developers to deploy their games at that speed. The PSP also has 32MB of RAM and 4MB of embedded DRAM where the OS is contained (Wikipedia, 2006). The device has a lithium-ion battery for power and a claimed battery life of three to six hours of game play. Finally, the PSP has a USB interface for transferring data to and from the system's Memory Stick Pro Duo. Software is available for both the Mac and Windows platform to ease the transfer of multimedia files to the device. One such application is PSPWare for Mac OS X.

The PSP has an updatable firmware using the Wi-Fi interface found on the device. The device connects to Sony's servers and downloads the update to a Memory Stick Pro Duo. With each new firmware release, Sony has fixed bugs in the device as well as adding new features. In a recent release, Sony added a Web browser and RSS reader so users can browse the web using their PSP. Though somewhat awkward to use, the browser does support history and bookmarks, which can be extracted using an application like PSPWare (Jefte.net, 2006). Currently, the firmware is at version 2.60.

Besides playing games and UMD-based movies, the PSP can also play MP3, AAC WMA, WAV and ATRAC3 audio files. It does not play AAC files downloaded from the iTunes Music Store because Apple does not license their Fairplay DRM technology. The device can also view MPEG-4 videos and many of the standard image file formats. Video files stored on the PSP's Memory Stick, they are located in the /MP_ROOT/100MNV01/ directory and named with the following format: M4V#####.MP4 (where "#" is any number) (Wikipedia, 2006).

Hardware hackers have taken to modifying the software of the PSP to run Òhomebrew" applications. With the first version of the Sony PSP firmware, it was found that the device could execute unsigned code. This homebrew revolution has been lead by gamers desire to emulate games from older video game systems such as the Nintendo and Super Nintendo (Gizmodo, 2005). Others have used their PSP as television remote and many developers are trying to get Linux to run on the PSP. Just last week, ucLinux was successfully ran on the PSP, though it doesn't do much more than load the Linux kernel (PSPHacks.net, 2006).

With each firmware revision, Sony tries to block the homebrew community from modifying the PSP's software. With the latest version 2.60 update of the firmware, it was thought that Sony had finally solved the problem, but a bug in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories allowed for unsigned code to be executed once more much to Sony's chagrin (Wikipedia, 2006).

Forensics involving the PSP will be a growing market as more and more people acquire the devices. The PSP is the first mobile video gaming device that allows for more than just playing games. Now criminals can surf the Web, store pornography and store incriminating information on their video game system. There does not seem to be any set of best practices for acquiring data from the PSP, nor any application like Paraben's PDA Seizure to automatically acquire the data. Unlike the T-Mobile Sidekick device, however, the PSP's USB port allows for the upload and download of data from the device.