As promised at last week's PlayStation Meeting in Japan, Sony has released a free 2.00 upgrade for Japanese PSP handhelds adding an internet browser, support for photo sharing via wireless network and the facility to set background images on the main PSP interface among other things.
An American version is expected in due course, while European PSP owners will find that their consoles come with version 2.00 installed as standard on the console's September 1st launch.
Earlier we reported that our shiny new "hot off the production line" European PSP comes preloaded with 1.52 firmware, however Sony has since been in touch to tell us that all European models will ship with version 2.00 pre-installed. Eagle-eyed readers will note that that means European PSPs will be protected against current PSP hackers and pirates from day one.
Japanese and American production lines had to be updated recently to combat the phenomenon, with mandatory updates hastily stuffed in around the margins of new games in those territories in an effort to prevent further abuses.
The Japanese 2.00 update is available through Sony's official website (if you scroll down, you can click a "Download" button to collect the "EBOOT.PBP" file you need). It can be loaded on to Japanese PSPs by creating the directory \PSP\GAME\UPDATE on your Memory Stick Duo and then using the PSP's "GAME" menu to launch the update.
You can transfer the file to your Memory Stick Duo using an appropriate USB cable (such as one bundled with a Sony CyberShot digital camera) and a PSP set up in USB Connection mode. There are also options on the Sony website for direct download, although we haven't investigated those. Whichever option you go for, you do so at your own risk!
For a rundown of what the 2.00 upgrade offers, we suggest you have a look at last week's coverage. We'll be tinkering with ours today, but we're unlikely to get too excited unless our PSPs blow up in the process. In which case we'll take some photos (and cry).