Despite Sony's announcement that its PlayStation Portable successor would not launch this year, Amazon has begun taking pre-orders for the device, advertising a December 31 shipping date. Admittedly that's only just this year, but to those of us that were anticipating a delay until early 2012, this is awesome news.

The PlayStation Vita is currently being advertised on Amazon's U.S. and U.K. websites, and both the Wi-Fi-only and 3G-capable models are available to pre-order.

Prices start at $249.99 in the U.S., and £229.99 in the U.K. — and that's for the Wi-Fi-only console. If you want to add 3G capabilities for online gaming on the go, you can expect to pay $299.99 in the U.S., or £279.99 in the U.K.

If you do choose to go for the 3G-capable model, you'll need to sign up to a data agreement from AT&T if you're in the U.S., which will be the only carrier to support the device — at least at launch. As for us Brits, Sony is yet to confirm which U.K. carrier(s) will offer the handheld, and this information isn't provided by Amazon either.

Other than the inclusion — or exclusion — of 3G, both devices are exactly the same when it comes to specs. Both boast a 5-inch OLED touchscreen (960 x 544), dual analogue sticks, front- and rear-facing cameras, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

I can't wait to fondle Sony's new PS Vita, so this is exciting news for me. I'd prefer to have it under my tree on Christmas day, but I'd be happy to hold on to my money for another week or two.

It's worth noting, however, that Amazon hasn't actually advertised a U.K. shipping date — the date only applied to the U.S. site. However, we'd expect to see the U.K. release around the same time.

Will you be pre-ordering from Amazon?

[via SlashGear]

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.