At its E3 media briefing this Monday, Sony announced that its Next Generation Portable is officially dubbed PSVita, and that the company has partnered with AT&T for the device’s optional 3G functionality in North America.
The device will come in two models, one with Wifi and another with Wifi and 3G connectivity, and Sony announced that the device will cost $249.99 for Wifi-only models and $299.99 for 3G models. The device will be released this year.
The company also revealed a social network service for the device dubbed ‘Near,’ which will offer a number of online tools to help players communicate and share content with each other. Further details have yet to be announced.
“Vita means life,” said Sony's Kazuo Hirai as he explained the device's new name, “and PSVita will be the first product to blur the line between entertainment and your real life, letting you interact and connect like never before.”
In a demo for the upcoming PSVita title Ruin, Sony revealed that the device will also support cloud saves.
Sony emphasized that NGP will interact with the PS3 in several key ways -- in addition to cloud saving, the device will also allow cross-platform competition and content sharing.
Developers also revealed several games for the new handheld, including a new version of LittleBigPlanet, the action RPG Ruin, and a handheld version of Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken.
Sony says that the company's 3G network partnerships for other regions “will be announced soon.”