Sony designer considered 5.5 inch, all-metal Vita

The Vita is a monstrous system. Sporting a five inch screen and carrying a bit of heft to it, it is a far cry from the nimble design of PlayStation's last handheld, the PSP Go. Tokashi Sogabe, a 27-year vet of Sony, has designed a number of devices, including the Walkman, Vaio notebooks, and the PS3 Slim.

Sogabe revealed that Vita could have been even bigger than it is today, and that he considered making an all-metal version of the handheld.

Before the current design of the Vita was finalized, Sony designers and engineers had to decide on a form factor. "In the testing phase we tried many different designs, including a sliding system [similar to PSP Go] and a clamshell," Sogabe said. "We settled on the final model after many discussions with the game development teams in Worldwide Studios."

The current design can be effectively summed up as a giant PSP, and that comparison is intentional. "When we first saw a prototype of the beautiful OLED screen we used on PS Vita, we felt it deserved to be bigger than the 4.3 inch screen on PSP," Sogabe explained to the PlayStation.Blog. The team eventually decided on five inches, but noted that "there was a great deal of discussion and we even talked about using a 5.5 inch screen with all of the buttons included on it, but that had a negative impact on the operability of the device and the idea was abandoned."

Another concept that was abandoned was the idea of a system made entirely of metal. The problem? "It was pointed out that this was impossible due to the internal Wi/Fi, 3G and GPRS antennae." It probably would also weigh a ton.

The PlayStation Vita is currently available in Japan. The handheld will be available in the US next month.