PS3 to gain ability to download Blu-ray movies to PSP.

Sony just made the PSP a must buy item for me:

Sony demonstrated how you could put a Blu-ray Disc movie into a Playstation 3 and copy the film to a Playstation Portable or a Memory Stick. “This way, you can have a portable copy you can take with you,” explains David Bishop, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“There was always the promise of greater interactivity. You’ll see that coming in the new year,” Bishop added. In addition to the PSP copying example, Sony also demonstrated how you could download ring tones and new content to a BD Live player, using Men in Black as the example.

BD Live is proving to be a big catchphrase at the show: Panasonic announced its BD Live player yesterday, Fox showcased an early version of its Alien vs. Predator multiplayer game at the Blu-ray Disc Association’s booth, and Sony showed its interactive Men in Black trivia game. The game was being played by two people in two locations on a Playstation 3.

Being able to do Remote Play of games and videos on the PS3 through your PSP over the internet was already pretty damn cool, but this just doubles the value of having a PSP as a portable media device. Which can’t hurt as it’s traditionally been somewhat of a pain in the ass to get media onto the PSP.

Skype coming to the PSP in late January. GPS unit to follow.

First the folks at Gizmodo confirm that Skype VOIP functionality is coming to the Sony Playstation Portable (PSP):

New PSP(R) (PlayStation(R)Portable) Expands Its Entertainment Experience by Introducing Skype(TM)

TOKYO, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/—Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) today announced that it would introduce Skype(TM) features to the new slim and light PSP(R) (PlayStation(R)Portable) handheld entertainment system (PSP-2000 series). More than 246 million members are registered for the use of this communications software, which enables users to communicate with other Skype users around the world over the Internet. Calls between Skype users are free of charge.

By introducing Skype on PSP, the following features and services will be made available to PSP users:

—Free voice calls between Skype users
—Skype contact list management (view existing contacts, add new ones)
—Skype presence (see which friends are online and available to talk)
—SkypeOut(TM) calls to make calls to landlines and mobile phones anywhere in the world (requires the purchase of Skype credit)
—Optional SkypeIn(TM) number that lets users receive calls on Skype from landlines and mobiles anywhere in the world (requires the purchase of
Skype credit)
—View and modify Skype settings and account details (including username creation, SkypeOut settings, voicemail settings and call forwarding)

And the folks at Joystiq are reporting that the PSP’s GPS module is coming state side:

The GPS receiver for the Sony PSP is about to find its way out of Japan and into US gamers’ hands. According to Sony’s CES 2008 page, “Your PSP will provide 2D/3D locations, driving directions, POI’s, and even downloadable city guides.”

No official release date or price – the peripheral in Japan retailed for approximately US $51.

I have to give Sony kudos for expanding the usefulness of the PSP beyond just a game/media device. I doubt either feature would be enough to convince folks to rush out and buy a PSP, but if you have one then they make it more useful.