Sony has revealed detailed specifications for its soon-to-be-released PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld game console at the Tokyo Game Show, including support for MP3.

The PSP-100 is due on sale in Japan before the end of this year and will measure 170-x-23-x-74mm and weigh 270 grams, according to the specifications.

The 16:9 widescreen display that dominates the front of the player is a 108mm model with 480-x-272-pixel resolution and the ability to display 16.8 million colours. It has a brightness of 200 candela per square meter, which is about the same as that of an average desktop PC monitor.

The main processor will be able to run at speeds up to 333MHz, depending on the load, and the PSP will include 32MB of main memory and 4MB of DRAM, said Sony. For networking and connectivity there is an IEEE802.11b wireless LAN adapter, USB2.0 port, Memory Stick Pro Duo slot, IrDA infrared port, headphone socket and power socket.

Battery life figures were not announced, but a company representative at the game show said it could support around two hours of continuous game play.

Games will be supplied on a new media format called UMD, or Universal Media Disc. UMDs are optical discs measuring 60mm diameter that are encased in cartridges that measure 65-x-4.2-x-64mm. Each 10-gram disc can hold up to 1.8GB of data.

The PSP will support three flavours of UMD: those for PSP games and also discs holding audio or video. Both Sony's own ATRAC3 Plus proprietary audio codec and the widely used MP3 audio codec will be supported in the PSP, said the company.

Video codec support will be for H.264/AVC, which is a standardized codec from the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).

With the detailed specifications, Sony has few other details regarding the PSP left to announce except for the launch date and price. The company had originally said it planned to launch the player in both Japan and the US before the end of this year, although the US launch was later put back until 2005.

Over 100 games under development for the PSP were announced by Sony last week.