We've been hearing about a major firmware update for the PS3 ever since the system's launch last November, and while we all had assumptions about what it might include, we never had much in the way of official information. But Sony has finally issued a few details regarding update 1.6, which should arrive on March 22, just in time for the European launch.
The first bit of news centers on the one feature Sony has confirmed earlier: background downloading. For now, users can't do anything else on the system while downloading something from the PlayStation Store, while 360 users have the benefit of background downloading. But update 1.6 should change things on the PS3, although Sony has said there will be certain "limitations."
We also expected to hear something more about PS3/PSP connectivity, and that assumption was correct. If you're one of those gamers who likes to use the PSP as a remote media viewer for the PS3, pay close attention- normally, you have to connect the PSP directly to the PS3 to access its media, and that PS3 had to be the 60GB model. But firmware update 1.6 adds the wireless ability to the feature, allowing you to tap into the PS3 from anywhere within your wireless range. This also lets those few 20GB PS3 owners take advantage of the feature. Sony still wants to make PSP/PS3 connectivity a "worldwide" feature (so we can access our PS3's content via the PSP from anywhere on the planet), but we figured the first step would simply involve the user's wireless home network.
Furthermore, Sony will be including a little bonus for PS3 owners who use the software keyboard. Verion 1.6 adds an option for a full-size keyboard, which is a great relief because the current cell phone-esque style can get outrageously frustrating. A few other features in 1.6 enhance the system's web browser; most specifically, letting the browser automatically detect video-out settings and set the correct font size.
Well, it seems they were right. This is one giant update, so make sure to log on and download firmware update Version 1.6 on March 22 – that's only three days away – to take advantage of all the new goodies.