Looking for a review and background on the Sony PSP? Steve runs through the highlights.
Games developers have included Internet access in their products. The best example of this is Wipeout Pure, which includes a browser, allowing the user to download new game levels and features. Since the game has a browser built-in, it can be reasonable to assume that Sony have actually put all the code to access the Internet in the PSP itself (and made it available to developers).
Some clever users then looked at what the browser was doing (by monitoring the data packets that the PSP was sending across the Internet via their network) and it all looked pretty normal, i.e. it was just a standard browser. In order to access real sites they had to locally pretend to be the Sony servers that the PSP was accessing. This was accomplished by “spoofing” DNS (DNS is the system that maps names to numbers on the Internet, people like using names, but the Internet actually works by numbers i.e. it’s hard to remember something like 127.0.0.1 but easy to remember “localhost” as a name). The spoofing meant that the PSP would no longer go to the games servers to look for content, but rather a local server which could be configured with any content that was so desired, including a text box that allows you to enter another site name.
Rather than everyone set-up spoof servers, some nice people have done it for you, and these then point to a PSP portal which someone has set-up PSP friendly content. You can access the spoof DNS servers by amending your Internet set-up configuration (on the PSP) and leave everything to automatic except for the DNS settings, into which you enter the spoof server settings.
To complement the PSP portal, a PSP irc client has been written. This is actually a script run on a Webserver, but the output fits on the PSP real estate (screen).
There’s probably going to be a lot of copies of Wipeout Pure sold, purely for its browser capabilities.
Once updated versions of the firmware come out, or there are 3rd party applications, the system will have all the features to be a powerful media hub. It supports WiFi, has a decent screen and video capability now, adding other Internet capabilities will just add the finishing touches to a superb product.