E3 06: PS3 specs tweaked, 20GB version stripped down

Features on Sony's console vastly different from last year; system now has one Ethernet port, fewer HDMI ports, four USB ports, no controller vibration.

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LOS ANGELES--When Sony announced the PlayStation 3 at last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, one of the most impressive parts of the machine was its specs. The console was a gearhead's dream with three Ethernet parts, two HDMI ports, six USB ports, and a host of other features. Many wondered how Sony could pack so much into a sleek box and still price the system competitively.

How things have changed in a year.

According to the latest specifications released by Sony, the PS3 now comes with only one Ethernet port and four USB ports. Also, the lack of a second HDMI port means that the "dual-screen setup running 1080p" function that was shown off last year is no longer a possibility.

The PlayStation 3 will come in two configurations; one will have a 20GB hard drive and the other will have a 60GB hard drive. However, losing 40GB isn't the only downgrade with the 20GB version. The 20GB version, priced at $499, will not have Memory Stick, SD, or Compact Flash inputs, Wi-Fi capabilities, or any HDMI output.

The new motion-sensitive controller, included standard in both the 20GB and 60GB models, will lack a feature that was present in the PlayStation 2's DualShock 2 controller: vibration. Citing the new "six-degrees of freedom," a statement from Sony says that "vibration itself interferes with information detected by the sensor."

The removal of vibration could also have something to do with the lawsuit won by Immersion Technologies, which sued Sony for copyright infringement based on the rumble feature in PlayStation controllers. Microsoft faced a similar suit, but settled out of court.

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