A filing with a Brazilian telecoms regulator revealed the pics, which were snaffled up by Tecnoblog, SlashGear reports. If genuine, they reveal a new PS3 that looks remarkably similar to the PS3 Slim, but with a ridged texture. It looks smaller too, and instead of the disc slot, it looks like it has a top-loading disc tray.
It could be positioned as a more budget offering too, with a 16GB size coming alongside 250GB and 500GB versions, according to the Brazilian telecoms company's database. So it could challenge the Xbox 360 S as a budget console.
Previously we heard Sony was readying a slimmed-down version of the PS3, to be unveiled at next month's gamescom trade show in Germany -- though details were pretty sparse. If genuine, these (admittedly low-quality) pictures do shed some light on the new console. The PS3 is in its sixth year on sale, so it could do with some revivifying. It's a common practice of Sony's, with it shrinking down its original PlayStation in the form of the PSone and keeping it on sale.
The PS4 is widely expected to launch next year.
But does Sony really need to launch new consoles? It bought cloud-based gaming service Gaikai recently, after all, enabling it to deliver games over the Internet straight to your TV or set-top box. All the processing is done on servers elsewhere, eliminating the need for powerful, bulky, and expensive consoles in the lounge. So the PS4 could be the last console Sony launches.
What do you think of the ridged texture? Would you buy a smaller PS3 with the PS4 said to be just a year away? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.