At E3 this year, Sony presented more details about its forthcoming handheld formerly known only as the NGP. Now revealed to be the PlayStation Vita, it continues the PSP (and PS3) tradition of inviting a new generation of games with a powerful combination of technologies. These range from a pair of cameras, an accelerometer, and gyroscopes now found in many handsets to a quad-core processor, 5-inch OLED display, and a touch-sensitive back panel to complement its touch screen.
It will also be the first handheld console from a major brand available with optional cellular access. Thus, the PlayStation Vita, priced at $249 for the Wi-Fi-only version and $299 for the cellular version, will provide another opportunity to study the impact of a premium for cellular access.
The Wi-Fi-only PlayStation Vita is priced almost perfectly between the Amazon Kindle at $139 ($114 with "special offers"), and the $499 entry-level iPad. The least expensive 3G iPad commands a $130 premium over its Wi-Fi-only counterpart whereas the cellular-equipped PlayStation Vita--like the 3G Kindle--is priced at a $50 premium. Looking at it in terms of percentages, the cellular premium breaks down as follows--Kindle: 36 percent, PlayStation Vita: 25 percent, iPad: 26 percent.
Of course, the price of the device is but one factor. The data-supping Kindle provides free cellular access, whereas the iPad monthly plan starts at about $15 per month. At this point, there's more to be revealed regarding how the Vita will use the cellular network or how that usage will be priced. The experience to date has been that the less expensive Wi-Fi-only versions of unsubsidized popular portable electronics outsell their cellular-equipped counterparts. … Read more