It's kind of a curious thing that Nintendo is the only console maker out of the big 3 to have announced a new generation model, the Wii U, which will be released in the fourth quarter of this year. Microsoft and Sony
so far have preferred to keep their next-gen console plans close to their respective chests while they squeeze out a few more sales out of their existing hardware. For Sony, that may mean releasing yet another PlayStation 3 console.
Sony has filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that reveals a 4000 series (PS3 CECH-4001x) model, which is believed to be a super slim version to supersede the current 3000 series. There are reports that Sony will announce the 4000 series console at Gamescom in Germany next month.
An original PlayStation 3 console, in silver.
The FCC filing doesn't reveal a whole lot and mostly covers connectivity technologies, including Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and IEEE801.11g/b/ WLAN. There's also a couple of references to debugging stations, which could indicate a change to the system's hardware, further supporting the possibility that the 4000 series is a slimmed down model.
Sony launched the original PS3 nearly six years ago in November, 2006. A slim model would follow suit in August, 2009.