The Playstation 4 will be released quite soon
I am confident that the Playstation 4 will be released quite soon. However, it will not be a next generation console. Instead its reason for existance will be to cut Sony's manufacturing costs. The cost saving will be achieved through the use of at least 512 Mb of cheap DDR2 memory in place of the slightly faster but very expensive 256 Mb of general purpose memory in the Playstation 3.
The reason for my certainty is that the only new document to appear in the whole of 2008 in the IBM Cell Processor web site was:
This document includes helpful bars which show what has changed since the previous version. Pretty much the only change is to add an on-chip DDR2 memory interface to the Cell processor.
What I am also hoping is that the yield of the Cell processor chip is now so good that the number of Synergistic Processor Elements avalable for game writers or linux programmers will be increased from 7 to 8 in the Playstation 4.
From talking to a Sony employee I think that Sony once had plans to greatly increase the number of SPEs in the Playstation 4. However, a lack of funds has forced the Playstation 4 to be redefined as a cheaper to manufacture Playstation 3.
A problem that developers currently have in porting games from the XBOX 360 to the Playstation 3 is that XBOX 360 games are written to use the full 512 Mb of general purpose memory in the XBOX 360. It will be easier to port games from the XBOX 360 to the Playstation 4 because of the Playstation 4's increased general purpose memory capacity.