As with the PSP and PS3, Vita will demand firmware updates--some of which will add significant new features to the system. Firmware 1.60, which will be available in Japan before the system's launch in America, is one of those rare OS updates that add a number of new bells and whistles. In addition to adding a new GPS-enabled map application, the update will allow you to record video from the Vita's built-in cameras. In addition, Mac owners will be able to transfer data to and from the Vita--a feature currently available for PC owners only.
The new map application will offer much of the same functionality you'd expect from a smartphone. For example, you'll be able to switch the display between a map and satellite photo. You'll be able to get directions via car, transit, and on foot. You'll also be able to set bookmarks, and retrieve traffic information.
OS X users will be able to use the Content Management Assistant--a standalone program necessary to transfer files from a computer to the Vita--beginning February 8th. You'll have to download that on the PlayStation website. (Currently, only a Windows version is available.)
Finally, firmware 1.60 adds a new feature that lights the PS button blue when returning from standby to power.
Although this update has been announced for Japan only, nearly every PS3 and PSP firmware has been launched globally. We've reached out to SCEA to confirm if this firmware will be offered day-one for the US Vita launch, as expected.