New PlayStation 3 console slims down for the holidays

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Sony is releasing a slimmer, smaller, and lighter PlayStation 3 console in time for the holidays featuring either 250GB or 500GB of hard disk drive storage, a boost from the current 160GB and 320GB models. The new PS3 console will be available in black during the console's late September launch, but a white version is coming to Japan in November.

It's not clear if the white version will see a U.S. launch in the coming weeks; Sony has only said other regions of the world will get the white console after the Japanese launch. Sony is also planning to launch a cheaper model of the new PS3 in Europe and Hong Kong with just 12GB of flash storage. It's not clear if this model will be coming to the U.S.

The new slimmer PS3 console features a sliding disk cover, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, 1 x HDMI Out and a maximum 1080p output. The 250GB version of the slimmer PS3 is slated to launch in the U.S. on September 25 as part of a $270 gaming bundle featuring the “game of the year” edition of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception . The bundle will also feature a $30 voucher to obtain bonus content for the game DUST 514.

The 500GB PS3 launches October 3 as part of an Assassin's Creed III gaming bundle for $300. If you want the new PS3 to stand vertically, Sony says you will need to buy a new $15 “Vertical Stand” sold separately. The new stand will not fit older PS3 models.

Sony's upcoming PS3 makes a dramatic drop in weight going from 7 pounds in today's consoles to 4.63 pounds in the new version. The new console also loses about about 0.20 inches of height compared to the current PS3 hardware.

Sony's slimmer PS3 console was announced during the Tokyo Games Show where the company also said the PlayStation Store for PlayStation Mobile will launch on October 3. Previously known as the PlayStation Suite, the PS Store for PSM is a new mobile gaming platform that will feature “PlayStation-like” games for select HTC and Sony Xperia Android-based smartphones and tablets. At launch PlayStation Mobile will include about 30 new titles.

The 500GB slimmer PS3 bundle is currently available for pre-order from GameStop .

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