Tuesday Sony said on the official PlayStation Blog that the next firmware update for the PSP and PSPgo handheld platforms will arrive soon. Although the update is considered minor, firmware v6.35 will be a huge step for Sony in its battle to dethrone Apple as the current multimedia giant.
According to Sony's VP of Network Operations Americas Eric Lempel, the new update will prepare the devices for the launch of "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity," Sony's new cloud-based, digital music service. This will allow users to access millions of songs stored and synchronized through the cloud. Users can discover new music through channels "personalized to their tastes on multiple devices and without the requirement to manage digital music files."
"A new icon for the service will be added to PSP’s XMB (XrossMediaBar) under the 'Music' category," he said. "In addition, the Media Go application for managing PSP downloadable content on your PC will be updated with enhancements to the user interface and advanced photo editing tools."
Sony announced the music streaming service back in September at the IFA 2010 show in Berlin, and is slated for the 2010 Web-enabled Bravia HDTVs, Blu-ray players, the PlayStation 3 console, PC, and even on Sony's portable devices.
"We are excited to offer our customers high quality, cloud-based entertainment experiences across many of Sony’s network-enabled devices," said Kazuo Hirai, President of Networked Products & Services Group, Sony Corporation. "Services ‘powered by Qriocity’ will revolutionize the way that users play, listen, watch, share, communicate, learn, discover and create their digital entertainment content."
Although the PlayStation 3 and PSP currently have access to movies and TV episodes that can be purchased or rented, music in general has been one of the missing key core components in Sony's assault on Apple. Sony even launched "minis" last year to rival Apple's gaming apps, however the company has yet to introduce productive apps such as a simple calculator or means to access the social networks on the PSP.
Still, the launch of Sony's music service on multiple devices-- even the PSP units-- indicates that Sony means business and wants to regain some footing in the mobile sector. Sony said that it planned to reveal more details about Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity in the future.
UPDATE: Firmware v 6.35 is now available to download and install.