Sony planning 80GB version of PlayStation 3

Sony is planning a new version of the PlayStation 3 console with a higher-capacity hard-disk drive

Sony Computer Entertainment is planning a new version of the PlayStation 3 game console with a higher-capacity hard-disk drive, according to a U.S. regulatory filing made by the company.

The filing to the US Federal Communications Commission was made earlier this month to notify the FCC of a change to the game console's Bluetooth module. The FCC is the radio regulator in the US and as such all new products that use radio or changes to these products must be submitted to the organisation for approval before they can be sold.

Included in the filing's cover letter is notification of the new model: "The model CECHE01 to be added by the difference of the capacity of hard disk." It then says the new model will have an 80GB drive.

Sony currently sells two versions of the PlayStation 3. The cheaper model has a 20GB drive and the more expensive model has a 60GB drive.

Hard-disk storage technology is advancing all the time and higher capacity drives are regularly coming available. As better drives come on the market drive makers cut the price of drives or discontinue then altogether because they become uncompetitive against newer models.

Thus the new PlayStation 3 could be an evolution of the product forced by economics of the disk-drive industry or something more important in Sony's strategy.

A spokesperson for Sony Computer Entertainment in Tokyo declined to comment on the company's plans for future upgrades to the PlayStation 3. Last week, Microsoft announced plans for a new version of the competing Xbox 360 console.

The Xbox 360 Elite packs a 120GB drive - against 20GN on existing machines - and an high-definition multimedia interface connection not offered on current models.

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