Sony seems to be learning from Apple’s forte of touch based controls and super-cool devices. Sony’s PlayStation Vita, earlier code-named as Next Generation Portable (NGP), will have 5-inch OLED touch screen and front and rear touch pads, Sony announced at E3 conference on Monday.

Though the device has become smarter, the pricing has been met with criticism from industry experts soon after they announced the the launch. The PlayStation Vita will retail for $249 for the Wi-Fi only model and 3G model will be coming in at a slightly pricier $299, but is likely be subject to heavy subsidies.

AT&T will be exclusive provider of the 3G PlayStation Vita model in the US at $300 with access to 20,000 free Wi-Fi hot spots, according to Sony’s announcement. Though the package might work fine for hardcore gamers, industry analysts say that mass market might not find the price appealing, though the handheld device is way smarter than older versions of PSP. Apple’s entry level iPod costs $229 and the company is planning for an update later this year.

PS Vita will feature an exciting line-up including of games including Uncharted: Golden Abyss, LittleBigPlanet, and Ruin (working title). In addition, titles such as Little Deviants, Hot Shots Golf, Reality Fighter, Hustle Kings, ModNation Racers, Wipeout, Super Stardust Delta and a broad range of third-party game developers and publishers will make use of Vita’s offering.

Sony’s decision to tie-up with AT&T wasn’t welcomed well by the audience that included industry analysts and reporters. Sony’s No.2 executive Kazuo Hirai was met with groans since the US users of iPhone had always complained about AT&T’s poor connectivity.

The Vita reportedly will have about a dozen developers behind the new handheld, which features connectivity between the PS3, will support PSP titles, has 2 analog pads, 2 cameras, full motion control via 6 axis, and a touch screen. “The handheld has many possibilities from what was shown and seemed to go beyond the PS3 with its interface, but seeing and playing are two different games”, an analyst wrote on web.

Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America wrote on PlayStation blog, “The PlayStation brand has become synonymous with interactive entertainment and today we’re delighting more consumers across more platforms than ever before. Across hardware, software and PlayStation Network, our platform is stronger and more relevant than ever, delivering breakthrough experiences that consumers crave.”

The new PlayStation will be available in the time of year-end holidays.