PlayStation Vita: Ready for your network?

Almost anything these days could become a client on your network, even a portable gaming console such as the Vita, with all the advantages and risks that entails.

The big technology news over the past week, non-government division, is the release of the PlayStation Vita, the latest portable gaming console from Sony. And it’s selling really well, with more than a million units already flying off the shelves.

One interesting difference between the Vita and its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable — or most portable gaming consoles for that matter — is that it can do more than just play games. I doubt the Defense Department is going to be deploying them anytime soon, but it’s conceivable that at least a few Vitas might make their way into government service in some areas.

Granted, the Vita isn’t a full network client, but I was surprised to find a rudimentary browser and an integrated Twitter application on board. The LiveTweet application isn’t completely elegant, but tweeting is relatively easy on the on-screen keyboard that pops up.

And following government agencies’ Twitter feeds, or those of your favorite government-focused tech publication, is surprisingly easy.

There are two main models of the Vita. The first uses just Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet, and the second uses a cellular modem like a smart phone. The Wi-Fi-only model seems to be more popular right now, which leads me to believe that most people probably do see the Vita as a simple gaming console and figure they can download their games when in range of their own Wi-Fi hub or when hooked up to their main PlayStation 3 console.

This, of course, increases the chance that a Vita will eventually connect to the Internet through a government Wi-Fi network. They probably already have.

I’m not saying the Vita is a security risk or anything. It’s more secure than a Windows-based device, given that there are no known viruses for it yet. But it is something to think about. Almost anything these days could become a client on your network, even a portable gaming console such as the Vita, with all the advantages and risks that entails.

It’s just another indication that the world is changing fast. Oh well, for now, sit back and enjoy "Uncharted: Golden Abyss," one of the coolest games you’ll ever play on the small screen.

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