Source: Game Informer
"Harrison: background downloading in PS3 FW 1.6 - One of the major gripes that PS3 owners have with the current system is that background downloading has yet to be implemented. According to Phil Harrison, though, all that is going to change when Firmware 1.6 for the PS3 drops. Here's a snippet of a Game Informer interview with Harrison from D.I.C.E. 07:
GI: ...You mentioned today, background downloads. Will that be part of it, and what are some of the other things that you have planned for that?
Harrison: The only thing I can talk about is that background downloading will be part of the 1.6 upgrade. There’s a bunch of other stuff, but Kawanishi-san would kill me if I was to reveal all of the details.
There you go, guys. Things are just getting better and better for the PS3's online features. Expect background downloads to be the norm when Firmware 1.6 rolls around, hopefully around the PS3's March launch in Europe."