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Sony Japan has officially announced revised hardware for the PlayStation 3 Slim. The updated model weighs less, is more efficient with power and also comes with stronger copy protection (as we reported yesterday).

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The updated PS3 Slim (Model number: CECH-3000B) weighs only 5.7 pounds (2.6kg), which is a somewhat significant improvement over the older 6.6 pound (3kg) model. It is also much more efficient: The newer model consumes 200W of power instead of 230W. The greener the better!

CECH-3000B looks the same overall. However, Joystiq reports that the eject and power buttons have been altered a bit although this alteration hasn’t appeared in the official images yet.

As is the case with Sony products, it is set to go on sale this month in Japan first. Other regions, like Europe and North America, will have to wait a bit. It is unclear how long the waiting period will be.

In Japan, CECH-3000B will cost 34,980 yen ($436). It comes with the same included accessories and hard disk size (320GB). A cheaper 160GB version is expected to release alongside Namco’s upcoming role-playing game Tales of Xillia.

ps3_610x258Now about the improved copy protection… the newer model will comes AACS copyright protection so Blu-ray movies will only be played at 480i when not using HDMI (i.e. you won’t get Full HD 1080p output when using an analog connection). Thankfully, this is only for movies and not for games.

Although it is quite unlikely, it is being reported that the newer model will have PlayStation 2 compatibility. This suggestions comes from the fact that a Google-translated version of Sony’s official page for the 3000B model says, “This product, "PlayStation 2" are [sic] having a compatibility with proprietary software.” Once again, it is probably a mistranslation, so take it with a desired pinch of salt.

In February, SCE CEO Kaz Hirai categorically stated that the PlayStation 4 is not being focused on. much on since developers are yet to properly tap the PlayStation 3’s power.

However, last month at an earning’s call, Sony’s CFO Masaru Kato confirmed that the PlayStation 4 is well under development.

Personally speaking, I don’t see the PS4 launching in 2012. 2013 sounds more plausible, with 2014 being a strong possibility.

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