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PSP goes to explore Richard Seynfield | , 4:14 p.m. March 18, 2008 2008-03-18

Lately Sony's Playstation Portable (PSP) becomes more and more of a mobile multi-functionality gadget as navigation software and click-on GPS antenna alters the entertainment device into a versatile navigator.

The newest product called Go!Explore was revealed during the German Cebit technology exhibition and on the first look appears fairly promising.
Thanks to the PSPs big and brilliant display it comes across better than most other navigators. As such it offers enough room for additional information on turns and routes without having to give up too much of the regular map.

The map data is extensive and even contains a rudimentary 3D depiction of some cities. And thanks to an implemented bird's eye of view, the next time you take a solitary walk through a pedestrian zone it might be quite the different experience!

Furthermore unusual are also the controls which are with the PSPs game buttons to the left and right sides of the shell. Most costumers with navigator experience will be used to touchscreen controlling and thus may find it a bit awkward getting used to it - but it is a PSP after all and who knows, maybe then next generation will be touchscreen as well.

A first test run around the Cebit exhibit area was still very convincing! Thanks to a clear and easy-to-use user interface and additional surprises as the directional instructions do not just following the all too common pattern: "next one to the right" but instead give precise street names and environmental descriptions.

On the downside however are the rather unpractical distribution of so called points of interests (POI) into 100 different categories. Originally described as another advantage by Sony it really just is a bit too much and makes the PSP navigation handling too complex. With the current pricing model it will also prove to be difficult to pimp the PSP with few monetary efforts into a complete navigator as the software's base system costs 119€ to begin with. One will be required to pay an additional 30€ for the car's suction holder and if you don't own a PSP Slim & Lite in first place it will total 299€. But then again - which other navigator can go Donkey Kong? And a new camera attachment to document your navigational progress will also be on board.

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