The latest system patch for the PSP features an RSS reader. After downloading and installing it, I tried and failed to load up the feed from this site before realizing that the only RSS feeds it wants to read are podcasts. So I loaded up the 10 AM NPR news report, and that seemed to work well enough. Then, since I’ve been strangely fascinated by video podcasts recently, I tried to load up the NBA.com update and Minnesota Stories. No dice. Despite being touted as a portable video player, the PSP cannot handle video podcasts.

Not only is the PSP’s RSS functionality limited to audio podcasts, it doesn’t offer the option of saving audio, which means that even if you went out and bought a high-capacity memory stick, you can only listen to shows in a place with a wireless network connection. Since one of the main selling points of podcasts is that they’re not streaming, but are conveniently asynchronous, getting rid of that asynchronicity seems like a step backward.

The PSP’s life so far seems to be a series of poorly thought-out moves like this. Trying to sell or rent full-length movies was always a dodgy proposition; the homebrew scene was going well until Sony started trying to patch it out of existence; and most of the available games for the system are stripped-down versions of console titles. Not particularly inspiring, especially when compared to the Nintendo DS’s glut of quirky, touchy, innovative games.

Still, every time I pick up the PSP, I’m filled with a sudden, uncontrollable urge to play Lumines. That’s got to count for something, right?