PlayStation 3: Firmware Update 1.90 (the creative update)

Where Microsoft updates the Xbox 360 Dashboard twice a year with extensive features and refinements, Sony seemingly updates the PlayStation 3 Xross Media Bar every month. This is the first update since we got our PS3 and straight away I have to say it’s full of more trademark loading bars. There’s a bar to download and another to install and I swear there was a third one as well. After a few minutes I rebooted and the system came back up with these new features:

Customizing wallpaper (Theme Settings)
Very nice touch. It’s easy to zoom and crop but now they need to add XMB color choices. A whitish wallpaper makes it really hard to see things. Also, when you play a video you can run it in the background and continue browsing the XMB. It would be too sweet to be able to set a video as the wallpaper and let any number of beautiful vistas or geeky clips loop endlessly as you tab around.

You can now use emoticons when creating messages under [Friends]

If I had anyone to chat with it’d be cool. There’s loads of emoticons and even some animated ones. Themed packs with icons reminiscent of PlayStation games would be awesome.

You can now enter text directly into text entry fields of Web pages using a USB keyboard.
Thanks, but that browser is still garbage.

When an avatar is displayed during a voice / video chat, the avatar now moves in response to audio.
Once again, I’d love to check this out but I have no friends on my PS3.

[Eject Disc] has been added in the options menu for discs.
Lame. Who cares?

You can now adjust screen display settings while playing PlayStation® and PlayStation®2 format software.
This is more like it! Switching display and softening settings in-game is very handy and makes the backward compatibility an even better value in the soon-to-be-rare 60gb models.

You can now sort games that are saved on the hard disk.
If only you could sort alphabetically. Whoosh! That one flew right over your heads, eh Sony?

Upsampled output of audio CDs is now supported.
[44.1/88.2/176.4 kHz] has been added as an option in [Audio CD Output Frequency] under [Music Settings].

[Type 2] has been added as an option in [Bitmapping] under [Music Settings].
[On] has been added as an option in [BD 1080p 24 Hz Output (HDMI)] under [BD/DVD Settings].
[Image Quality Adjustment] option in the control panel has been changed to [AV Settings].
You can now play AVCHD-format video files that are saved on Memory Stick™ media or on the hard disk of a video camera.
You can now operate the Slow Back (Slow (Back)) and Frame Reverse (Frame Reverse) functions when playing video files saved on storage media or on the hard disk.

Holy crap! What?!

Just add in custom soundtracks, XMB access during gameplay, and background downloading while playing PS1/PS2 games and you’ll have almost as complete a package as the 360!