Sony has announced a new firmware upgrade for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) that allows users to surf the internet and play compatible games online at over 7,000 T-Mobile US HotSpots. Locations include most Starbucks, Borders bookstores and over 70 major airports.

The free Wi-Fi access will be available for six months to customers downloading Sony’s latest firmware 3.30 update for the PSP. After this period, T-Mobile will give PSP owners the chance to purchase a subscription at a discounted rate. Further details of the offer will be available nearer the time directly from T-Mobile. PSP owners must log-in to the T-Mobile HotSpot Network by 28 March 2008 to gain access to the six-month promotional period.

Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing at Sony, said: “The new offer enables Sony to take portable gaming and entertainment to a new level of mobility and convenience for PSP owners.”

The first title to take advantage of this online access to compatible games via the PSP’s WI-Fi functionality is Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters. Additional software titles supporting access to T-Mobile HotSpot locations will be made available later this year.

The firmware 3.30 update also includes an upgrade that allows PSP users to view videos saved on a Memory Stick Duo in full resolution. A further upgrade allows thumbnail files for video and RSS content to be displayed. The firmware updates can be downloaded directly to a PSP wirelessly, downloaded to a PC and transferred to a PSP or installed using upcoming UMD software.