It's common for hardware manufacturers to redesign gadgets over the life of a product to make production more cost-effective and to drive down the retail price. Nintendo is seemingly the master at the practice in the gaming world, but Sony is making a run for the crown with its newly announced slimmer version of the PlayStation Vita. Sporting a new LCD screen over the original Vita's OLED screen, this new Vita is also 20% smaller and 15% lighter than the current model. It boasts an extra hour of battery life and comes with a 1 GB memory card. It'll be available in Japan in October for ¥19,929 (about $200). Here's Joystiq with a few more details:
Sony Computer Entertainment's press release also notes a new micro USB slot for data backup and charging, along with a new power indicator and notification indicator at the top of the portable. The new model will come in black, white, lime green, light blue, pink and khaki.
While lighter and smaller are always nice features in a redesigned handheld device, seeing that OLED screen go is a heartbreaker. The current Vita's screen is gorgeous and I'm not sure that a regular LCD screen can stand up to what the OLED can do in this instance. Using LCD surely brings costs and battery usage down, so it's an obvious change in hindsight, but that doesn't make it easier to take. If these reductions help sell Vitas though, in the end it'll be seen as a smart move on Sony's part. However, just based on the spec sheet for the new model, I'd say to pick up a current model if you have the option.
And speaking of spending money, there's also a 64 GB Vita memory card on the way as reported by Kotaku that will cost ¥10,479 (about $105). No matter how much Sony drives Vita pricing down, those memory cards are still the largest hidden cost associated with the system.