Sony has just announced a keypad peripheral that sits on top of a DualShock 3 and SIXAXIS to allow QWERTY typing (it also appears to have its own Bluetooth connection and power source). A lot like the keypad Microsoft released a while back for the 360, it also has a touchpad for mouse support as well (that could even be used in some games). The pad will come in 8 different configurations/languages for PAL regions this November and there's no US release announcement yet. [Kotaku]UPDATE: We just received the full press release. It's coming to America, but still not dated.
TOKYO, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) today announced that it would release the Wireless Keypad, a new peripheral for SIXAXIS(TM) and DUALSHOCK(R)3 wireless controllers for PLAYSTATION(R)3 (PS3(R)), this holiday season throughout the world. It will be introduced in North America in late November. It will be also introduced in Japan, Europe and Asia by the end of this year.
The highly anticipated Wireless Keypad is designed to fit precisely into the unique shape of SIXAXIS and DUALSHOCK 3 wireless controllers, and can be easily attached or removed. By using the product instead of the on-screen keyboard, users will be able to enjoy text chat communication more easily and comfortably in their hands, just as they would use familiar portable communication devices. It supports text chat in PlayStation(R)Home as well, and enables users to enjoy interactivity playing on-line titles and enjoying entertainment content more smoothly.
Equipped with Bluetooth(R) functionality, the Wireless Keypad can be paired to PS3 by simply connecting the keypad to the USB cable that comes bundled with the PS3 system. Also, two shortcut buttons, a Communication Button and a Message Box Button, are placed on the lower part of the Wireless Keypad, enabling users to jump to pre-set features on XMB(TM) (XrossMediaBar) such as "Friends" and "Message Box" during game play, which help PS3 users to smoothly communicate with each other. Additionally, a Touch Pad Button allows PS3 users to use the entire surface of the keypad as a touch pad, allowing them to easily manoeuvre the pointer while web browsing, simply by sliding their finger on the keypad surface.
More and more exclusive software titles that will support text chat feature are scheduled for release towards the end of the year including LittleBigPlanet(TM) (SCEI).
SCEI will vigorously promote various measures to introduce new entertainment world that can be further enriched through the network, including PlayStation Home.
Release date and price of this product will be announced later in each region.