PlayStation 3 firmware 3.0 is coming soon, bringing with it new XMB functionality, a status indicator, a friends list redesign, dynamic themes, avatars, and much more.
Announced during Gamescom and highlighted at the PlayStation blog, firmware 3.0 doesn't revolutionalize the way we navigate the PlayStation 3, but it does bring some welcome changes. The most prevalent of the changes is a status bar in the top right of the screen, which shows your avatar, your user icon, what you are up to, and a mail icon, in case you have messages waiting.
Changes will make the friends list more friendly, with messages from your friends now appearing in their respective profiles.
The games and video categories of the cross media bar will now feature shortcuts to the PlayStation Store, reflecting downloadable content and related items available.
Premium themes, as seen in the video below, are animated themes that make your PS3 a bit more lively.
The most puzzling update, for me at least, is the new free and premium avatars, which will be showing up in your status bar. What other uses will they have?
Update: Firmware 3.0 will be released on September 1st, according to Sony's PS3 Slim press release.
For a full list of updates, check out the PlayStation Blog, and watch the video below to see some of the new features coming in firmware 3.0.