Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sony NGP

Sony NGP, the successor to the PlayStation Portable, was announced a few days ago. As a big fan of handheld gaming, I can not wait to play WipEout with 60 frames per second and the PS3-like graphics.

Early rumors said that it might have a Cell processor with four SPUs. Now we know it has a quad-core ARMv7 processor. I had some hopes for a less mainstream processor, but in the end I think it was a good choice. A Cell processor is a beast to program and would have made things difficult for the homebrew community. I really hope to see some emulators for the NGP that weren't possible on the previous generation (like CPS3, Dreamcast and PS2) and an ARM will make that much more likely than a Cell would.

I also think there is too much focus on hardware these days. For power efficiency, I think it's equally important to optimize the software as it is to optimize the hardware. Today's smartphones are ridiculously inefficient and have big trouble scrolling a user interface smoothly on a 1 GHz processor + GPU. I have seen far more impressive things on the Amiga. The NGP will have a huge software advantage over smartphones. Java-free, low-level APIs and the proper use of SIMD instructions will make it perform much better per Watt.

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