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PS3 upgrade as Sony plans 80GB version

New PlayStation still no match for Xbox Elite

Sony is planning a new version of the PlayStation 3 (PS3) console with a higher-capacity hard-disk drive, according to a US 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 PS3'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 PS3 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 PS3 in the US. The cheaper model has a 20GB drive and the more expensive model has a 60GB drive. The company is currently only selling the 60GB model in the UK (see our PS3 review).

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

Thus the new PS3 could be an evolution of the product forced by economics of the disk-drive industry or something more important in Sony's strategy.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced plans for a new version of the competing Xbox 360 console. The Xbox 360 Elite packs a 120GB - against 20GB on existing machines - and an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) connection not offered on current models.

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