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PS Vita firmware update adds button controls and more

Sony PlayStation has been a household name since its launch in 1994. The recently launched PlayStation Vita, a handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment, has been very popular among gamers who want to play while on the move. It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of the PlayStation ecosystem.

The Vita delivers amazing visuals using its 5-inch OLED touch screen, and the graphics are almost in par with graphics of PlayStation 3. The system was debuted along with a game title lineup, and the best part is that the device has access to PlayStation Network, where the user can download some of the games, including all first-party titles. The Vita runs an operating system which has been smartly designed, easy to use, and super responsive. The unit feels great to hold and has excellent standby battery life.
PS Vita’s firmware 1.8 has been anticipated for quite a long time now. It was said that it will be rolling out in late August, however no specific date was given. Today, Sony announced at Gamescom that the highly expected and much awaited Playstation VITA firmware 1.8 is scheduled to arrive on August 28.

Along with Vita firmware 1.8, it is said that Sony will be adding support for playing PSOne Classics on PlayStation Vita. I’m sure a lot of users are looking forward to playing original PlayStation titles on the go. Apart from that, the users will be allowed to make various setting changes while games are running and take screenshots of gameplay or applications, which should come pretty handy.

Below are the new features that will come with firmware 1.8:

Many users had requested this, and seems like Sony had made a note of it and has implemented it on the firmware v1.8. The new version will let you control the home screen and some features of applications such as Videos and Music with the hardware buttons that are present on PS Vita.

Cross Controller
This new feature will allow users to use PlayStation Vita as a controller to control supported games on PlayStation 3. Some of the compatible games include LittleBigPlanet 2. Using PS Vita as a controller is a very good idea because it has a touch screen, besides, games can exploit the rear touch pad, six-axis motion sensing system, and cameras. The possibilities are endless.
In order to access the cross controller feature, users are required to launch the included Remote Play application and then click on the Cross Controller icon.


For music lovers, it’s a good news for you folks. After the firmware update, PS Vita will support Playlists in Music. The user can transfer iTunes (10.6.3 or later), M3U, and M3U8 playlists from a PS3 or a PC using Content Manager. This little option will prove to be a blessing for many PS Vita users.

Group Messaging
Apart from layout enhancements, users will be able to click photos to add as attachments when writing Group Messages.

The Maps feature sees some improvement with a new button using which the user can switch modes between “Search for Location” and “Search for Directions.” You can also touch and hold a location on the map and place a user flag.

With the all new “near”, the device will be able to fetch information of surrounding Wi-Fi access points (even those without internet connection) and update the location data based on it later. You can get location data within the area covered by Wi-Fi location services.

Web Browser

Motorola has had few phones with rear touch pad. Rear touch pad is a very good idea to have on a smartphone with touchscreen, because when you touch the screen, your finger blocks that area, but this problem is eliminated with the use of touchpad. Coming back to PS Vita, it already has a rear touch pad, and Sony has enhanced its usability with the new firmware update. The browser now supports rear touchpad, allowing you to scroll through and zoom out of pages without obscuring the screen. That’s pretty great and I would personally love to see this feature on upcoming smartphones. Manufacturers, listening?

Two new controls have been added to videos. The controls include:
• Playback speed control
• Repeat play

After the update, the device will be capable of displaying photos in MPO format, with added ability to transfer MPO files from PS3 and PC using Content Manager. It should be noted that the device doesn’t yet support 3D and multi-angle viewing.

Recently, Sony announced PlayStation Mobile, a platform it’s going to launch this fall. PlayStation Mobile will enable small-scale gaming on a variety of devices such as Sony Xperia phones and tablets, several other Android devices, and the PlayStation Vita itself. Apart from this, it will also run a certification program under which the company will certify various manufacturers to manufacture devices which will be compatible with PlayStation Mobile. Asustek Computer and Wikipad Inc are already among the first manufacturers to join Sony’s PlayStation Certified license program. It’s a great initiative because occasional gamers like me wouldn’t find it feasible to carry a PS Vita like device that is dedicated just for gaming, and PlayStation Mobile will supposedly get me the “PlayStation experience” on a device which essentially isn’t a PlayStation product. More on this can be read over here.

PS Vita firmware 1.8 seems to be bringing a lot of feature on board the PS Vita. Once the update goes live, you can either update using WiFi, connecting to PS3 or connecting to a PC. You should be able to find more information on the update over here very soon. What are your thoughts on these features? Will the update add value in terms of user experience to your PS Vita? Let us know using the comment form below.

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