Sony PSP Firmware Adds Flash, Podcasts

As the company hinted in March, Sony has released new firmware (version 2.7) for its Playstation Portable (PSP) mobile gaming platform, adding support for Macromedia Flash, AAC-encoded audio, and podcast support by way of enabling users to save audio podcasts to Memory Stick storage.

Currently, the version 2.7 firmware is available only in Japan, but if Sony follows the pattern of previous PSP firmware updates, versions for the European and U.S. markets should follow in the next couple of weeks.

Adding support for Macromedia Flash lets the PSP’s built-in Web browser work with a larger number of Internet sites. Sony says the PSP will support most (though not all) content developed for Flash 6. The PSP’s podcast support is implemented via a new RSS Channel function, which enables users to store RSS-published audio content to the PSP’s Memory Stick storage.

Support for AAC audio enables the PSP to play back audio files encoded in the AAC format, which is the default used by Apple’s iTunes jukebox software. Apple’s iTunes Music Store uses AAC encoding protected with Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management technology; the update notes don’t mention whether Sony has implemented support for Fairplay on the PSP, although it seems unlikely given Apple’s famous unwillingness to license the technology.

The update also enables users to select Simplified and Traditional Chinese as their unit’s native language.

Sony previously said future PSP firmware updates will add support for UMD media, video podcasts, and VoIP capabilities.