Yesterday, at Sony’s 2011 E3 press conference in Los Angeles, Sony was showing off their next handheld console. The machine, which until now has been known as NGP (next generation portable) has now officially been named PlayStation Vita, and the head of Sony’s games division, Kaz Hirai, explained the name:

“What you’ve come to know as NGP is officially known as PlayStation Vita.” 

“So, what does Vita mean? Vita means life, and we’re confident that PlayStation Vita will be the first product that truly blurs those lines between PlayStation entertainment and your real life.”

The new console will be launched worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2011. It will be launched in two different versions. One of the versions will only have online access via WiFi, while the other will support 3G in addition to WiFi, which means that it can be online as long as there is 3G coverage.

The console has a touch-sensitive screen (16:9) that can detect multiple touches simultaneously. It will also have a “touch pad” on the backside. In addition, it is equipped with a canera both front and rear. It supports most of the popular music and movie formats, as well as several popular image formats. Files can be transferred to and from the unit via USB.

The full specifications can be seen below (all photos via Sony’s productpage):

Sony has also announced that the price in the U.S. will be $249 for the WiFi model, and $299 for the WiFI+3G model. Here in Europe, Sony has simply replaced the dollar-sign with the euro sign, so the cheapest version will be 250 euros, while the other will be 300 euros. Suggested retail price for Norway is not available yet, but expect the European price to be applicable.

Sony claims that more than 80 games are in development for PlayStation Vita. They have already announced titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and WipEout 2048. There are also working titles like LittleBigPlanet, Street Fighter X, Tekken, Super Stardust Delta, Virtua Tennis 4, Hustle Kings and BioShock Infinite.

For a closer look at the Vita in action, watch the official E3 trailer below:

(via Teknofil)