Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.
One thing that has set Sony apart from its home console rivals has been the extended lifecycles of its hardware. Riding the momentum of a massive install base, both the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 each kept selling strong nearly a decade after their debut, and years after their respective successors were introduced. In fact, as late as 2009, Audiovox began offering a PS2 integrated into an aftermarket ovehead car video system with a 10" screen. Sony could pursue this strategy in home consoles because the PS2 was the runaway unit volume leader of its generation. Not so with the PSP.
When Sony introduced the PlayStation Portable, it entered a portable console market with fierce, entrenched competition from the incumbent Nintendo, and the powerful widescreen handheld was outsold by the Nintendo DS and its later derivatives. Sony couldn't attain the market share it needed to steamroll existing competition.
With Sony's announcements this week, however, the PlayStation purveyors seem to have found a way to take their one-two punch on the road with a strategy that takes the PSP and segments its evolution.