Sony's Next Generation Portable, also known as the PlayStation Portable 2, could be coming to our shores earlier than anticipated, with third party licensees insisting it will ship in time for Christmas.
That's the claim of unnamed industry sources, who told gaming trade magazine MVC that Sony is setting development deadlines in order to prepare the console for a pre-Christmas release in Europe. While no firm date has been officially confirmed, rumours state that Sony will be looking to launch the device on the 11th of November, giving users plenty of time to get their orders in should they want to buy the device as a gift.
One thing that's still not known, however, is the price. With Sony going all-out to include seriously impressive technology in the NGP - including an ultra-powerful processor, front- and rear-facing touch panels, integrated 3G connectivity, and more - it's likely that the launch price will be significantly higher than that of its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable.
It's almost certain that Sony, as with previous launches, will be subsidising the cost of the device in the hopes it can make back what it loses on the hardware in software sales - but it's a delicate balancing act, and with the NGP hardware likely to represent the most expensive hand-held console in history, only time will tell if Sony's gamble pays off.
With Sony's flagship PlayStation 3 console struggling against increasing piracy - mostly, it has to be said, through Sony's own mess-up regarding the digital rights management technology within the console - the NGP could be the company's main focus for future.