Console giant Sony has unveiled one of its concept models for the PlayStation Portable device at a corporate strategy meeting in New York, giving significant insight into the company's plans for the hardware.
Of course, it's important to note that this device is almost certainly not what the PSP will eventually look like - it's purely a concept mock-up, but it does give strong indications about certain design elements of the system.
The unit is dominated by a large colour screen in widescreen format, with the various buttons ranged on either side of this screen. These buttons are flush with the glossy surface of the device - and although this has caused consternation among some gamers who argue that they won't be comfortable to use, we're less convinced by that argument, and certainly taken with the idea of a pocket-sized device with no buttons or sticks protruding from it.
Sony's promise of analogue control isn't immediately evident from this mock-up; many people have assumed that the analogue controller on the PSP will take the form of a thumb-stick, but of course, it's entirely possible that the company will simply provide an analogue D-Pad, similar to the analogue buttons on the Dual Shock 2.
The device certainly looks hugely desirable as a piece of consumer electronics, and simple additions like the wrist strap clip show Sony's experience in building personal electronic devices paying off. Most importantly; it looks like a media centre device rather than a games console, and although we have no doubt that the games will be excellent given the power of the unit, we can easily see non-gamers purchasing the system for music, movie and photo playback on the go.
This isn't Sony's "walkman for the 21st century" - but it's the first chance we've had to see what they're thinking when they design the real hardware, and on this showing, it's hard not to be even more excited than previously.