The 'PlayStation Portable (officially abbreviated PSP) is a handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment. Development of the console was first announced during E3 2003, and it was unveiled on May 11, 2004 at a Sony press conference before E3 2004. The system was released in Japan on December 12, 2004, in North America on March 24, 2005, and in the PAL region on September 1, 2005.
The PlayStation Portable is the first handheld video game console to use an optical disc format, Universal Media Disc (UMD), as its primary storage media. Other distinguishing features of the console include its large viewing screen, robust multi-media capabilities, and connectivity with the PlayStation 3, other PSPs, and the Internet.
Despite the console's considerable computing power and its formidable multimedia capabilities, sales have consistently lagged behind its main competitor, the Nintendo DS. After the release of a remodeled, slimmer, and lighter version of the PlayStation Portable, appropriately titled Slim and Lite, in early September 2007, sales quadrupled in the United Kingdom the following week and increased by nearly 200% in North America for the month of October. Although the PSP has faced very stiff competition from the Nintendo DS, it has been by far the most successful handheld console not manufactured by Nintendo.