updated 8/20/2008 6:33:12 PM ET 2008-08-20T22:33:12

For PlayStation 3 fans who want to do more than mash buttons when playing games on the console, Sony Corp. is introducing a wireless keypad that can be attached to the system's controller for typing and Web browsing.

The Bluetooth-enabled keypad, available in November, is intended to make it easier to chat during multiplayer games. Currently players talk to each other over headsets with microphones. Gamers tired of hearing inane banter from their peers may welcome the ability to put down their earpieces and communicate through typing instead.

Another feature is a button on the keypad that will let users turn it into a touch pad and use the entire surface as a mouse by sliding their finger over the surface. This, Sony says, will make it easier to browse the Web using the console.

There is already a wireless "ThumbPad" ($30) available for the PS3 from Mad Catz Inc., but this is a first from Sony itself. Sony has not yet announced a price.

Sony's gaming arm also said Wednesday at a gaming convention in Leipzig, Germany, that it has updated its PlayStation Portable system. The enhanced PSP will feature a new LCD screen with a wider gamut of colors, antireflection technology and a built-in microphone that was not available on previous systems. Players can use the microphone to make Skype calls and talk to other gamers during multiplayer sessions.

Sony will begin selling the new PSP Oct. 14 for $200 as part of a bundle with "Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters," a game whose two heroes embark on an intergalactic search for a kidnapped girl. Another bundle with the new PSP and a 4-gigabyte memory stick will be available for the same price in November. The standalone system will cost $170 and is due out by the end of the year.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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