This morning I was hanging out with the folks from Sony, checking out all their latest kit for Christmas. I also managed to score some hands-on time with Sony's Marvel comic book reader for the PSP. And I have to say, it's pretty freakin' awesome.
They were showing the Marvel comic app on the upcoming PSP Go!, and the first thing worth mentioning was that it looks great. The colours are vibrant, the text is easy to read on the smallish screen and everything looks incredibly high res and gorgeous.
The key element of the reader though is Autoflow, which zooms and scrolls through the comic as you read it. This is the element that could make or break the service. And I have to say that it's probably going to make it. To read through, you just keep tapping the right directional button, and the software automatically zooms and pans. On large images with quite a bit of text, it will pan across to the text as you go along, letting you read everything in order. If you want to get a closer look at an image, you just push the right shoulder button to zoom in (left button zooms out) and the analogue stick to move around. The up and down d-pad buttons turn the pages forward and backwards without zooming in using Autoflow.
I started reading an issue of Iron Man that was loaded on the PSP Go! and I was hooked within moments. They practically had to pry the PSP from my hands so they could show someone else the device.
Sony reckon the service will launch before the end of the year. There's no word on pricing, but they expect it will be "pretty cheap". It'll work with the old PSP as well, although you'll probably need to upgrade your memory stick to handle all the comics you'll almost certainly download. Even though I've never really been a comic book reader, I sincerely believe this will get me started...