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Coming soon: Snap-on Xbox 360 thumb-keyboard controller

This summer Microsoft will be releasing a snap-on keypad for its Xbox 360 controllers.

The snap-on keypad is coming this summer.

Over the weekend, GameSpot reported that a couple of important new updates were on their way for the Xbox 360. First, Microsoft announced that a system update would be available starting the week of May 7; the spring update includes revisions to the Xbox 360 Dashboard and Xbox Live Marketplace.

"The biggest change in the cards. . .is the addition of Windows Live Messenger functionality," the GameSpot story says. "In addition to letting Messenger users on the PC chat with their 360-having friends, the update will also let Xbox 360 owners see if any of their Messenger contacts have Xbox Live Gamertags. Messenger contacts will be kept in a list separate from Xbox Live friends, and Xbox 360 users will be able to chat with six Messenger contacts."

A bit of hardware was also announced. You've always been able hook up a USB keyboard to the console to input text, but frequent IM users can now look forward to the release of a convenient new Xbox 360 keyboard controller attachment, coming this summer. Yet to be officially named, the QWERTY-style keyboard snaps onto the bottom of your Xbox controller through the headset jack. No word yet on how much it'll cost.

Not to give Sony a hard time or anything, but you gotta wonder when it'll have a similar accessory for the PS3--it would really come in handy for Web browsing. I've also been waiting for some sort of keyboard attachment for the PSP. Won't hold my breath, though.

Read the full GameSpot story for more details on the Xbox 360 spring update.