We've heard a ton of talk about Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 720 over the last year or so but surprisingly, there hasn't been hardly any chatter to speak of with regards to Sony's next generation console. That of course doesn't mean the Japanese electronics giant hasn't been hard at working designing hardware and software for the PlayStation 4.

A recent report from VG24/7 claims that Sony is now sending second generation development kits, codenamed Orbis, to select game studios. The hardware is contained inside of a typical PC chassis, a huge step over the first generation kit that was little more than a graphics card. A third revision is expected to land in developers' hands sometime in January before the finished product arrives next summer.

Speaking of graphics, Orbis is said to be powered by a modified AMD A10 APU which as you know, combines the CPU and GPU into a single unit. The console is expected to have either 8GB or 16GB of RAM when it ships to customers, an optical drive capable of Blu-ray playback as well as a 256GB hard drive. Wi-Fi, Ethernet connectivity and HDMI-out will all come standard.

Sources claim the ultimate goal of the PS4 is to be able to produce 3D gaming at 60FPS / 1080p resolution.

We're also hearing that the console could be announced before E3 next year. That event is scheduled to start on June 11, 2013 which is leading some to believe Sony might unveil it at PAX East on March 22.