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Sony's redesigned Vita hardware is coming to the U.S. next month
Sony's redesigned Vita hardware is coming to the U.S. next month
April 8, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

Newsbrief: Sony has picked a date to launch its previously announced $200 Borderlands 2 Vita bundle in North America: May 6, according a post published on the PlayStation Blog today.

The product is noteworthy because it will include the Wi-Fi edition of Sony's new, redesigned PlayStation Vita hardware -- the PCH-2000 series.

The new Vita, which is thinner, lighter and more power-efficient than the original -- due in part to Sony's decision to replace the high-quality OLED screen with an LCD -- was announced last year in Japan and recently launched in Europe.

The Vita version of Borderlands 2, which was announced at Sony's E3 press conference last year, will be included with the bundle and thus playable a week before its official May 13 launch. The bundle also comes with a proprietary 8GB Vita memory card.

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Lihim Sidhe
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This just in from 'Should Have Done This First' news… Sony has just announced a complete overhaul of the Vita system. A Sony spokesperson said, "The Vita is what we learned from the shortcomings of the PSP. This new Vita is what we've learned from the shortcomings thus far."

The changes are staggering. The Vita has been redesigned from the ground up to be a 'gamer smartphone'. As you can see from the images it's about the size of a Galaxy Note with embedded physical controls.

Sony didn't stop there. They also have moved away from the proprietary Vita OS and have gone full Android. Not only that Sony has also done away with proprietary SD storage and has instead opted for universal SD storage.

The Sony spokesperson said, "The thing about the Vita - it's a powerful and capable device. But it made its arrival in a mobile world dominated by smart phones and tablets. We learned the hard way that the core gaming experience just wasn't worth it to most gamers to carry around another device. The audience won't change so we had to adapt lest the Vita become an irrelevant piece of hardware only a scant few care about."

Oh wait.

Joel Bitar
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One of the few things dumber than the vita would be a vita that's also a phone.

E Zachary Knight
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If they would just get rid of the proprietary storage medium, they could make me a very happy gamer.

Bruce Tran
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I loved my psp but back then until hackers flooded the online gaming community.

I'm fine with their proprietary memory cards.. the system just need more third party support and games.

Personally, i think $150 is the right price for the Vita. I think i can get one this black friday.

E Zachary Knight
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Bruce, If they want to keep the proprietary card, fine just lower the freaking price to be on par with generic storage. When the price to by a Vita memory card is 4 times the cost of a SD card, we have problems.

James McWhirter
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Ironically Android probably would cause more problems for Sony. Unless they fork Android, which they can't do as they would be kicked out of the Android Open Handset Alliance, and thus can't make Xperia phones anymore, they'd have to include Google's services package on their Android Vita.

Which includes the Play Store and Google Play Games, and so they'd automatically be allowing consumers to spend a portion of their money on that store, of which nothing goes to Sony, leaving less for whatever store Sony puts their games on (publishing on Google Play may be an option).

Forking Android like with what Ouya did would also be problematic, as you're now playing battle with Google in filling in the closed source gaps that are missing from open source Android (or the good bits of Android) with your own services. Though I guess PSN would be a great replacement for Google Play Games, but on the other hand users probably want to be able to play all the Android games they've already bought off the Google Play store on their Vita Android device, which they won't be able to do. I can see why Ouya are trying to do "Ouya everywhere" from this, as currently Ouya services and games, despite being on Android, are tied to that particular fork of Android and wouldn't work on, say, my Android device.

I've probably left out a few points here and there but that's what I've gathered after reading this excellent article about why Android really isn't open in a way that's beneficial for most and if you use it for your own purposes Google sends the world crashing down on you. It's a great read, highly recommended!

James McWhirter
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The depressing part of it is it's not only 4x the price of an SD card, it's 4x the price of a far better performing SD Card. If Sony actually made it so their memory cards were speedy, quality flash storage (and communicated it to consumers which they would if they did so) then I'd have no qualms buying them at the prices they are at (I begrudgingly shelled out for a 16GB card recently).

But instead Vita memory cards are the equivalent of Class 2 SD cards, offering painfully slow read and write speeds, hampering load times in games. I really liked how if you used a high performance memory card with digital PS Store games on PSP, you'd be rewarded with really quick load times. Vita sadly will be lumbered with longer than necessary load times.

Robert Carter
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I know its minor, but I am really sad to see the OLED screen go. Games just look SO beautiful and vibrant on it. I dont find the battery life on the Vita limiting honestly, I can play games for 3-5 hours straight which is more than I ever have time for in between charges. I also find the sleep mode to be more efficient than the 3DS, as I can leave my VITA in sleep for days and see no change in battery life.

All of the other changes seem wonderful however, and I cannot wait to publish my upcoming Unity games to the much more indy friendly device!

Chris Melby
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My 3DS sucks battery with the wifi on. If I forget to turn it off, the handheld will be dead by morning sometimes.

And just to ramble, I'd love a larger OLED screen like on the Vita for Zelda: Link Between Worlds. :)

James McWhirter
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I've been a Vita owner since launch and to me the Vita-2000 is a step up in every way imaginable, including the screen.

Oversaturated colours are a bad feature of older OLED screen technology, of which Vita-1000 shares with 2011's Samsung Galaxy S II. As such, the colours developers intended for us to see on-screen are rendered gaudy and oversaturated, and it just looks wrong, especially next to extremely well calibrated displays such as the one on my Surface Pro 2, or Apple's iPad Air, or any great modern IPS LCD panel. The same is true for modern OLED, of which the tech has caught up with LCDs considerably. Samsung's Galaxy S4 display is one of the first to be properly calibrated (but only if you change the calibration to "movie" or "professional photo" in the settings), thus showing the colours as they were intended to look like, ,as opposed to the gaudy oversaturated ones due to poor calibration and/or flaws in older versions of the tech.

But the flaws with Vita-1000's screen don't stop there. It suffers from MURA, or persistent screen 'grain', where it cannot render solid colours (this is very noticeable if you look closely at the home screen background, or if you load up the settings up to what should show a solid green, which instead looks like canvas due to this problem).

Vita-1000's OLED screen will also degrade in quality over time, because it has an RGB subpixel layout. In short, unlike most OLED screens it has the 'right' amount of subpixels, however the blue ones degrade faster over time than the red or green ones, resulting in image degradation over time. Samsung states the lifespan of their non-RGB subpixel layout screens to be 18 months before degradation. See this article for more on this particular subject of degradation:

Lastly, older OLED screens like the one Vita-1000 uses are notorious for poor brightness, which was always a persistent problem for me when playing on my 1000 model outdoors.

Luckily, the Vita-2000 fixes all of these flaws. The new LCD panel is pretty decent, delivering great viewing angles and a pretty good contrast ratio. Its colours are no longer gaudy and oversaturated, so objectively it is a better screen, showing us the colours that developers' artists and so on intended us to see. For example, green fields in games no longer shine a fluorescent green, and everything looks as intended. The MURA/grain problem is gone. The screen is also coated with glass instead of plastic as in the 1000, so unlike the older model it doesn't pick up a load of grease and fingerprints after use. Like a smartphone, the fingerprints rub straight off because it has an oleophobic screen coating, something Vita-1000 lacks.

So, overall, I'd say Vita-2000's display is *objectively* better. The issue of saturation is more a subjective one, as I must say it does suit some games (like TxK), but there's no reason to overlook it if you consider the above (and the paragraph below).

Brian Klug from Anandtech, in his Nexus 5 review, which is the first Android phone to deliver properly calibrated colours oversaturated, stated the following:

"It’s interesting to hear some Nexus 5 users complain that the display seems undersaturated, since that kind of end user feedback reflects subjective comparison. It also suggests to me that a large percentage of the population doesn’t know what some colors or system elements actually should be. Even for me, looking at the green elements inside the Google Play store on the Note 3 in movie mode or Nexus 5 initially seemed slightly more muted than normal. The reality is that this is what they actually should look like. We’ve just become accustomed to their oversaturated appearance on virtually every other device."

I believe this to largely be correct, and probably the reason behind the backlash against Vita-1000's (objectively inferior) display. Which is a shame because the 2000 model really shouldn't be overlooked due to this factor, which I believe Sony dug themselves into this hole given how much they marketed and overhyped the original model's display (it was practically mentioned in every press release for Vita software and hardware, after all). As such everyone believes that OLED is somewhat superior to *any* LCD panel out there, when it's not like that at all. Only now are the best OLED screens (such as those in top end smartphones like the Galaxy S4) are competing with the best LCDs. But Vita's OLED is definitely an older, inferior version of the tech, and certainly worse than any LCD panel worth its salt.

Chris Melby
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Holy crap James. :)

IMO OLED screens look better. They have a wider color gamut, true blacks, a true viewing angle with no discoloration like every LCD tech, and better whites.

This 2000 vs 1000 screen video(below) pretty much shows what I like about OLED of any flavor. For being inferior compared to the newer OLEDs in your own words, it certainly looks better than the LCD on the 2000:

I don't own a Vita btw, but I'd get a 1000 over a 2000 if the price were right. My friend got his second hand for $100.

Daniel Burke
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So they going to release a free C++ SDK and reasonable self-publishing for it too?

Chris Melby
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The irony, that they switch to a LCD which uses more power than OLED, and have released a more power efficient model. If anything, a cheaper to produce model.

Jarod Smiley
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I would think that's exactly what Sony has done...

James McWhirter
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The IPS LCD panel in the Vita-2000 is likely to be more energy efficient than the Vita's Super AMOLED Plus panel, with there being research to prove this to great effect:

But generally speaking OLEDs are only really power efficient when showing blacks as pixels just get switched off (where LCD panels always show a backlight), so they have great applications when tied to, say, Windows Phone, which is an OS that predominantly shows a black background above white text which floats in 3D space. The large majority of software on Vita doesn't, though.

OLED tech has come a long way since Vita-1000's early generation OLED panel, though, which is near identical to the panel in Samsung's Galaxy S II.

Ujn Hunter
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That's great for people that don't already own a PSP Vita... but for those that do... bring out the PSP Vita TV already! Thanks. :)

Michael Thornberg
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The only thing I care about is that Sony opens up Vita, and releases a SDK that everyone can use. There is a reason developing for Android is so popular after all.

Sean Kiley
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"They said I was daft to build a castle in the swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em!"