Earlier today, UK game retailer Play.com supposedly had a listing for a PlayStation 3 packed with a 40GB hard drive. The page has since been removed, but is said to have indicated that the cheaper SKU would lack the backwards compatibility of the existing PS3 models. If true, it would be a curious omission, especially since the recent $599 80GB PS3 MotorStorm bundle uses software, not hardware, to emulate older titles.
Apparent internal Best Buy documents acquired by Engadget also show a $399 PlayStation 3, described in the page as "PS3 40GB SPIDER" with an in-stock date of October 28. This would fit with earlier rumblings of a new unit packed with the Blu-ray edition of this summer's cinematic success Spider-Man 3, which officially hits October 30.
Meanwhile, Kotaku has a picture said to be from BluraySavings.com, listing the same new PS3 model number as the FCC listing--CECHG01--as one of the purchases eligible for five free Blu-ray movies. Of course, the current page does not mention any specific PS3 model numbers.
While nothing thus far indicates the new PS3 model and the $399 40GB unit are one in the same, there is an overwhelming amount of buzz and supposed evidence that something is going on. Coupled with GamePro France's report that Sony is planning a major announcement or conference for October 12, all signs point to something happening soon, though there has been no official word or response on the matter.