Sony today has confirmed a price and launch date for its Portable handheld device however fell short of announcing a UK launch date.

In the US, gamers hoping to get their hands on the new player will be able to do so from the 24th March 2005 and will have to pay US$249.99 for the privilege.

The unit will retail as a "value pack" in the United States and in Canada (C$299.99). That package will include a number of accessories and a copy of the movie "Spider-Man 2" on Sony's new UMD disc format, designed for the PSP and capable of holding three times the data of a traditional CD-ROM showing Sony's commitment to making this more than another handheld console.

Sony said around 24 titles would be available at launch or in the days following, representing all of the industry's major game publishers and genres. Games include "FIFA 2005," "Metal Gear Acid," "Need for Speed Rivals" and "Twisted Metal: Head On."

In comparison, handheld market leader Nintendo Co. Ltd. sells its new DS portable for about $150 in the United States. That unit lacks many of the PSP's multimedia functions, however.

Talking to the UK press office, they wouldn't comment on whether the player would launch on the same day. Our hunch here at pocket-lint is that it will be the week after.

We will keep you posted.