A new firmware update hit the Vita this morning, bringing with it the ability to sort your handheld's software into folders.
If you fire up your Vita and visit the System Update option, your handheld will now pull down the latest firmware for the gaming machine, Firmware 2.10. This update includes a number of bug fixes and changes to the device's functionality, but most notably it allows users to finally store their games and utilities in customizable folders.
Have a look an abridged list of the changes, courtesy Sony:
Create folders to more easily manage your favorite application icons on the home screen, with up to 10 icons in each folder and a maximum of 100 on the home screen (including icons inside the folders).
Verify which PS Vita card you are using by looking at the home screen's info bar. You can also save the layout of your home screen icons in the memory card.
Added video support allows you to play videos within the browser (memory card required; some videos are not supported).
New email enhancements allows you to view HTML messages, add multiple email addresses to your contacts, and easily search your messages using the new search feature.
PlayStation Plus members will be able to automatically update PlayStation Mobile format software and upload game save data onto online storage using 3G connection.
New "Mute Automatically" option will mute your PS Vita speakers when your headset is unplugged and pause your music when using the music app.
While those are all potentially useful features - I have to assume that someone uses the Vita to check email - the addition of folders is a surprisingly huge deal for the Vita. From its launch until yesterday Vita owners were stuck staring at the cluttered operating system the gadget relies on that would defult to dropping game and utility icons any- and everywhere. Once you had more than two games this made navigating the Vita's main screens an undue hassle, especially given how many of those icons will go almost entirely unused. Now we can toss all those extraneous programs into a folder tucked out of the way, and keep all of our games organized in one spot right at the top of the Vita's display.
Now if only Sony would actually offer the technically impressive handheld some support in the way of actual games for the system, it might be onto something with the Vita. Then again, with the company's efforts now firmly focused on the imminent PlayStation 4, the smart money is on the Vita quietly dying as Nintendo continues to dominate the handheld space, both for lack of competition and because its potential competitors refuse to learn from the mistakes of the past.