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The Sony PlayStation Portal is a handheld device that looks like a portable game console, but it’s not positioned as a standalone device. Instead, Sony markets the Portal as a PlayStation 5 companion that lets you stream PS5 games from your console. That’s all you can do with it… officially.

But unofficially? A small group of hackers have figured out how to run apps natively on the PlayStation Portal. So what can you do with a hacked Portal? Use it to run PSP games, of course.


According to Andy Nguyen, who goes by TheFlow online, a trio of folks spent “more than a month” hacking the PlayStation Portal so that it can run PPSSPP, a PlayStation Portable Emulator.

Nguyen says there are no plans for a public release “in the near future,” and that there’s “more work to be done,” but as Handheld HQ points out, Nguyen has a long history of hacking Sony handhelds including the PlayStation Vita and Portable, so it’s likely that this is the real deal.

It’s unclear what kind of performance this handheld offers though. Since it’s designed first and foremost as a game streaming device, there wasn’t much need for Sony to put a speedy processor inside the Portal. In fact, the company doesn’t even list the processor, memory, or storage for this device on the PlayStation Portal product page.

What Sony does tell us is that the Portal has an 8 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel, 60 Hz touchscreen LCD display, a USB-C port (that is officially just for charging, but which probably comes in handy if you plan to hack the device), a 3.5mm audio jack, and WiFi 5 connectivity.

After the Portal began shipping in November we learned from teardown videos that it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon SG4150P processor, a 6.6 Wh battery and an Android-based operating system. And Nguyen tells us that the operating system reports about 6GB of onboard storage.

So how exactly do you get it to run PPSSPP (or other apps)? It looks like Sony’s software for the PlayStation Portal normally blocks users from installing Android apps using APK installer files. But Nguyen found a way to “bypass” Sony’s code.

It’s unclear if or when instructions for doing that will be released to the public, but Nguyen says it’s a software-based method, which means two things:

  1. Anybody with sufficient computer skills would probably be able to unlock the PlayStation Portal by following a set of instructions… at least initially.
  2. Sony could probably push an over-the-air update that would make it tougher to bypass those restrictions. So that may be at least one of the reasons why the researchers responsible haven’t released instructions.

It’s pretty impressive that somebody’s figured out that the PlayStation Portal can be unlocked and made to run native games and apps. But given the device’s hardware limitations, there are probably other handhelds that are better suited to those tasks.

So I’m not sure I’d suggest going out and buying a PlayStation Portal just so you can hack it (especially since tools to do that haven’t been released yet). But if you’ve already got one and are looking for ways to use it for more than just game streaming, it looks like that may eventually become an option.

via @theflow0 and @ZetaTwo

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  1. Great news and if Sony is clever enough this could be a big sales boost for the device, too.

    An 8 inch PSP from Sony? Take my money! 🙂

  2. Well it probably wasn’t to hard to begin with,just nobody thought it was worth the effort being such a limited storage.Time will tell how far this will go!

  3. Well at least it’s now a viable device. It was a scam and crappy device to begin with, now maybe it well at least be worth buying. We need to see more of these hacks. The hack scene has been pretty lame all around lately, from android and apple, to xbox and ps5..

    1. Not true one bit. Android always has new things eg magisk, zygisk, lsposed etc. Apple has things like Checkra1n and others. Xbox has its own Dev Mode that Microsoft themselves allow. PS have been royally bent over for years.

  4. You can always rely on TheFl0W to do the cool handheld console hacks. I’ve been following his work for years and have spoken with him a few times, about Vita hacks mostly.

    For me, out of the box the Portal is a boring, underdesigned device with no purpose whatsoever. I say that as a PS5 owner – a butchered experience of that console via the Remote Play feature they haven’t improved the tech behind for years is not desirable. But reading this gave me the first spark of interest into what it might be able to do in coming years, when interest has been lost in it’s novelty and you can get them as new in box for less than £100. As with the Wii U, homebrew can make a pretty uninspiring device into something truly special.

    Bless the hackers. Their curiously benefits us all.

  5. Kinda wished he’d sat on it a little longer before giving Sony the middle finger. Gonna be a rough ride from here on out.

  6. They’re probably going to disable this with updates, since this might mean people playing games without buying them from Sony, and possibly eat into Vita 2 sales assuming they’re even doing that.

    1. They can’t disabled it until he releases the exploit, but of course they will patch it if a software exploit….if hardware nothing they can do until a new revision is released.