There's talk that Sony may introduce a redesigned PlayStation Vita handheld console at a special event before this year's Tokyo Game Show (TGS). It will supposedly be labeled as the PCH-2000, and sport a 6.3 inch OLED display manufactured by Samsung with a 960 x 554 resolution. The news arrives by way of Japanese newspaper Tokyo Keizai and translated by TheMagicBox which has since removed the report due to the inability to confirm the source.
According to the report, the next-generation Vita will supposedly get a boost in RAM, up to 1 GB from the current device's 512 MB so that more apps can run in the background. However, the amount of RAM used by games will remain unchanged, thus Vita titles will be compatible with both the old and new hardware. Finally, the new Vita will supposedly sport a new look that will be similar to the upcoming PlayStation 4 so that the platforms will be more visually unified.
The current PlayStation Vita, which still retails for $249.99 (Wi-Fi) and $299.99 (3G) despite slow sales here in the States, has a 5 inch OLED screen with the same resolution, a quad-core Cortex-A9 MPCore chip, a quad-core SGX543MP4+ GPU (128 MB VRAM), a capacitive multi-touch pad and a camera on the back, a camera on the front, and more. The battery promises three to five hours of gaming, up to five hours of video, and around nine hours for music.
Rumors of a revamped PlayStation Vita arrive after Target began knocking $50 off the console's price between August 18 to August 24, costing $199.99 for the Wi-Fi model (and possibly $249.99 for the 3G model, although it's not shown) for a limited time. The rumor also seems to back up reports that Sony may offer a PlayStation 4 / PlayStation Vita bundle this holiday season for around $500 USD.
Given that Sony has already stated that it has no plans to reduce the price of its PlayStation Vita console, Target's sale may be based on clearing inventory before the new units arrive. Yet it's quite possible the rumored larger "XL" model would retain the typical pricing while the current-gen 5 inch model would take a hit reduction in price. Naturally, a larger screen may require a larger form factor, but it's unknown if the unit will need an improved battery.
While an "XL" model sounds ideal, bringing the platform to a more tablet-size level, Sony may simply be updating the current form factor to match the PlayStation 4, and throwing in extra RAM to handle more apps and increase overall performance. Honestly, increasing the screen's size while maintaining the same resolution won't make games look any better. Nintendo increased the resolutions slightly when it introduced the larger 3DS XL model, moving from 800 x 240 (3.53 inches) to 800 x 320 (4.88 inches) on the upper screen, and 320 x 240 (3.02 inches) to 400 x 240 (4.18 inches) on the bottom screen.
For the original PlayStation Portable, Sony launched three designs without making drastic changes until the fourth, the PSP Go in October 2009. These included the original PSP-1000 (March 2005), the PSP-2000 (September 2007), and the PSP-3000 (October 2008). A PSP-E1000 model for the PAL region was launched in October 2011.
UPDATE: Sony is supposedly revealing the actual ship date of the PlayStation 4 on Tuesday, so perhaps we'll know more about the updated PlayStation Vita then too.