The PS Vita is a handheld game console developed by Sony to succeed the PSP or PlayStation Portable. It competes with the Nintendo 3DS and first came to market in late 2011. The Vita brings console-grade gameplay to a handheld device and contributes to the rising popularity of mobile gaming. It complements the PS3 and PS4, Sony's full-size game consoles, and shares the same suite of PlayStation software and services with them.
A PlayStation for the Road The Vita is a small, pocketable electronic device with a touchscreen display, 16 buttons and touchpad placed at the back where the user's hand rests. It has the same four-button control found on the DualShock controllers for PlayStation's bigger consoles as well as a D-Pad and two analog sticks. This input hardware sits around the central 5-inch multi-touch screen along with a pair of stereo speakers, built-in microphone and 3.5mm headphone jack as well as back and front-facing cameras.
Inside the PlayStation Vita, there is a quad-core processor, 512MB RAM, 256MB video RAM and a 2200 mAh battery. While the first-generation console only uses removable storage in the form of custom memory cards, the second-generation Vita comes with 1GB of flash memory. Other differences between the two models include an OLED screen that replaces the LCD of the first generation as well as a slimmer, lighter build coupled with a battery that lasts longer.
Mobile Gaming on the PS Vita The Vita makes gaming on the go fun by offering a rich library of fully realized mobile games. There are over a thousand titles for the device, and these include indie hits and classic PlayStation games repurposed for the console. There are two ways to get games onto the handheld: on Vita cards or downloaded from the PlayStation Store.
Besides titles developed exclusively for the device, it can also play some downloadable games made for the PSP and PS1. This feature makes it easy for owners of the previous generations of the PlayStation portable console to upgrade and take advantage of the better hardware of the handheld without leaving their favorite mobile games behind. In addition to this backward compatibility, gamers can also stream certain PS3 and PS4 titles to the Vita via Sony's online gaming platforms. This feature makes it a companion device for Sony's full-sized consoles and ensures that hardcore gamers can keep playing even when there are away from their PlayStations at home.
Using the Vita as a Portable Streaming Device The PlayStation Vita is not only a handheld gaming console, but it is also a portable entertainment device with full access to Sony and third-party multimedia streaming services. The PlayStation Store offers a vast library of movies and TV shows ready to stream to the Vita. In addition to this marketplace, the console also runs a number of entertainment apps for streaming videos and music.
The PS handheld can stream movies and TV shows from Netflix and Hulu, radio programs from TuneIn, music from Spotify and sports programs from MLB, NBA and NHL apps. Besides these, the Vita also comes preloaded with a web browser and an email application.