Sony Computer Entertainment today announced details of the next system software update (v. 2.70) for the PS3, which includes several new features that enhance how PS3 users communicate and interact with their online friends.

The system software update 2.70 will be available soon and delivers a new Text Chat feature that will enable users to chat with their online PSN friends. Other updates include enhancements to the Friends list on the XMB and improvements to the video delivery service on PlayStation Store.

Through the new Text Chat feature, PS3 owners can chat with their friends using the Wireless Keypad, on-screen keyboard, or compatible keyboard peripherals. Users can participate in up to three persistent chat rooms at once, and each room can host up to 16 users. Text Chat can be accessed while playing PS3 games.

In addition to Text Chat, firmware 2.70 provides enhancements to Friends lists, allowing users to sort their friends by online status. Online friends will still be sorted in alphabetical order, while offline friends will be sorted by when they were last online, with the most recent being first. PS3 owners will also be able to attach larger files to messages sent to their friends – the file size limit will increase from 1MB to 3MB.

The system software update 2.70 will also make improvements to the video delivery service on PlayStation Store. Video files purchased from PlayStation Store can be backed up to an external storage device and then restored to PS3 system’s internal hard drive for playback. Additionally, videos purchased for the PSP can now be transferred to the PS3 for playback.

The 2.70 firmware update is due for release shortly.