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Sony Hands Out PSP2 Dev Kits

Last week Shaun Himmerick of Netherrealm Studios revealed that Sony's rumored PSP2 was indeed real, and that the developer actually had a working prototype in-house. Himmerick made the surprising revelation during an interview with Industry Gamers after he was asked if the new Mortal Kombat would make its way to Nintendo's 3DS or Sony's current PSP.

Now there are reports that Sony has handed PSP2 development kits to a number of key in-house and third-party studios for a "significant launch window line-up." While industry sources weren't named, reports over the last few months have indicated that Sony wants to make a big impact at launch by spreading the PSP2 tech widely across the industry.

Currently little is known about the upcoming handheld. However unlike the PSPgo, the PSP2 will likely feature a UMD optical drive--and not be a download-only device--according to a related statement by PlayStation CEO Kazuo Hirai. A report released back in May also said that the device was "****ing powerful," that it was based on a four-core Cell CPU. There's also talk that it will have two cameras--one forward and one backward facing--and a possible 3G connection.

Originally it was believed that the PSP2 would launch in Q4 2010. However since the device didn't make an appearance at E3 2010, it's believed that the PSP2 will launch in 2011--somewhere in the same timeframe as Nintendo's North American 3DS launch (which debuts in Japan in November).

The original PSP launched in North America on March 24, 2005. Could the PSP2 see a possible March (2011) release too?