Playstation Vita due in US February 22

Sony’s next-generation portable gaming console will be hitting the US and the rest of the world on February 22.

The rest of the world, that is, except for Japan. That will be the flagship country for the device, which is set to go on sale there on December 17.

The handheld was originally slated to be available in the US for the all-important holiday shopping season but the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year widely affected Sony manufacturing facilities and crippled Playstation Vita development.

Sony revealed a lot of information about the Vita in June at E3, including its official name, 3G exclusivity with AT&T, and the $250 base-level US price point. But one thing it specifically did not say is when the device will be coming out. Now we have all the details of Sony’s launch plans.

The Vita has already been called Sony’s potentially last game-specific mobile device. The company has already started pouring resources into Android and has been working with bringing Playstation connectivity to its sister mobile company Sony Ericsson.

However, the Vita offers several features that most traditional smartphones can’t, such as a dedicated game-launching memory card slot, dual joysticks, a touch-sensitive panel on the back of the device, and the ability to sell at low prices without a mobile carrier subsidy.