PSP Firmware 2.6 Adds Built-in RSS Podcast Aggregator

Sony did a “silent” firmware release for the PSP, adding WMA audio support and “RSS Channels”. I, like Russ Beattie, thought that meant support for text RSS feeds. But no! From Sony’s “About” page for RSS Channels:

Note that the only type of RSS-distributed content that can be played on the PSP(TM) system is digital audio content. You can access and play audio content provided in a form that complies with RSS version 2.0 (such as content available for “podcasts”).

It’s not for text, it’s for podcasts! Woo hoo!

But wait, there’s more!

Audio content will be available for streaming playback only. Depending on the Internet connection and content file size, the audio stream may pause or stop during playback.

So, if you’re like me, and only have the puny 32MB Memory Stick that came with your PSP, and refuse to buy a bigger one and support Sony’s evil proprietary format, you’re not out of luck. It doesn’t download and store podcast audio like most podcatchers – it streams the audio. Very cool, though it does require you to be connected to the internet, which rules out using it on the bus, etc.

Still, a very unexpected step from Sony. Can’t wait to apply the update (should be available from Network Update on your device) and check it out. Of course, the standard discaimer applies if you’re running any sort of homebrew PSP software – don’t update the firmware, or it will break your homebrew stuff! Check out Russell’s blog entry on the topic for a detailed write up of his experience with it so far.