This Thursday, download the PS3's v1.6 update. You know, the update version 1.6, famous for channeling the super-console's spare floating-point power towards finding a cure for Alzheimer's. Get it, cheetoh-fingered gamers, and you can be a real hero, not just a guitar hero. The update also provides a remote play to those loser 20GB PS3s, updated background DLing, a split on-screen keyboard in the browser, but maybe most interestingly to Giz readers is the updated stack that allows use of Bluetooth keyboards and meeces.

Release after the jump.

FOSTER CITY, Calif., March 20 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) today announced that the next regular system software update for the PLAYSTATION(R)3 (PS3(TM)) computer entertainment system (version 1.60) will be available March 22, delivering features such as Folding@home connectivity, enhanced downloading of content from the PLAYSTATION(R)Store, support for Bluetooth(R) keyboards and mice, and an optional full QWERTYon-screen keyboard for text entry.

Folding@home
Beginning Thursday, PS3 users will be able to connect to Stanford University's Folding@home program, a distributed computing project aimed at understanding protein folding, misfolding, and related diseases, such as
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and many cancers. Using the power of the Cell Broadband Engine(TM), the PS3 system can perform computer simulations for the Folding@home program 20-30 times faster than the average home PC. Once a PS3 system is updated to version 1.60, users can easily sign up to join the
Folding@home program by clicking on the associated logo on the XMB(TM) (XrossMediaBar) under the Network icon. The user is then able to link to a distributed network of PS3s, conducting simulations and sending them back to a central computer at Stanford University for compilation and analysis.

Enhanced Downloading
Firmware version 1.60 delivers a more convenient process for downloading content to the PS3 from the PLAYSTATION Store. PS3 users will now be able to queue up to six downloads at one time. Progress of downloads can be easily tracked under a new Download Management menu under the XMB's Network icon. In
addition, content will be able to be downloaded in the background while using some PS3 system features, such as accessing the XMB to display videos and photos from the system's hard drive, playing music, and browsing the Web.

Text Entry and Web Browsing
Firmware 1.60 also will support keyboards and mice enabled with Bluetooth wireless technology. Text entry is further expanded with the option to use a full QWERTY on-screen keyboard, in addition to the existing single tap keyboard. PS3 system's built-in Web browser will also be enhanced with the ability to zoom in to the optimal viewing size for the selected area of a Web page at the press of a button, as well as an optional tool for reducing flicker when the PS3 system is using interlaced video out (480i or 1080i).

Other Feature Upgrades

* Remote Play — This feature, enabling you to access photos, videos, and music on your PS3 system's hard drive from a nearby PSP(R)(PlayStation(R)Portable) system, will be available for the 20GB configuration, when utilizing an external Wi-Fi router or local wireless access point.
* Disc Auto-Start — This new option under System Settings allows you to choose whether or not a disc should start automatically upon inserting the disc or turning on your PS3 system.
* Blu-ray Disc Rewriteable (BD-RE) — PS3 system can now playback BD-RE discs (version 3.0).

"PS3 is constantly evolving with new features that keep the system at the cutting edge, thus unlocking its full potential," said Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing, SCEA. "This upcoming firmware update not only delivers capabilities that gamers are asking for, such as enhanced downloading, it also enables us to tap into the PS3 community for the Folding@home project, leveraging the power of PS3's technology and theever-expanding reach of our user base to help researchers find cures for diseases."
To install the latest system software on your PS3 system, you can select the System Update feature when your system is hooked up the Internet; use a PC to download the update data and transfer it to the PS3 system through storage media or a USB mass storage device; or install it using update data included on an upcoming game disc.

–Brian Lam

[Kotaku]