Sony handheld to offer net calls

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Owners of Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld console will soon be able to make voice and video calls over a wireless internet connection.

Using a soon-to be-released camera and microphone, gamers will be able to call other PSP owners and some BT phones.

The software has been developed by BT and will eventually allow PSP users to call PCs, fixed lines and mobiles.

Initially the service will only be available in the UK and will only work on home or BT wireless hotspots.

Currently, there are around 2,000 of these situated in airports, railway stations, hotels and fast food restaurants.

Next generation

More than 24 million PSPs have been sold around the world, with more than eight million of those sold in the UK.

According to BT, the software will eventually be distributed to telecoms companies in 100 other countries.

The service is part of a growing trend to enable so called voice over internet protocol (VoIP) on mobile devices.

VoIP is a method of routing voice conversations over the internet and was made popular on PCs by services such as Skype.

Now, more and more mobile handsets come with wi-fi capability and companies such as Truphone and Jajah offer services that allow people to make VoIP calls, bypassing the traditional mobile tariffs and networks.

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