[UPDATE] - This rumour has been going for a full day now, and is now appearing across all the main gaming sites (keep up, guys!) There has been no firm denial from Sony, which has to be positive, but with all the interest in this news I'd expect a formal response soon, although that could be delayed by the grim earthquake/tsunami news from Japan. That will probably be of the "Sony does not comment on rumour" variety.
Sure, its just a rumour, posted by Pocket Gamer which is celebrating its fifth birthday and has also added an NGP tab - go guys!, but rumours rarely come with a specific date, or a reason for that date. And this one looks pretty solid.
"According to MCV, third-party licensees for the handheld have been told to have their releases ready for the end of this summer, in time for a western launch towards the end of the year.
There are even leaks suggesting that the console will be released on Friday 11th November."
The MCV article refers to third-parties who have been told when to have games ready for that launch - which is high-level stuff and the 11/11/11 date would be an attractive marketing ploy.
The timing would be bang on for the Christmas season but it would risk the NGP launching with a weak line-up and not enough hardware being available, which I'd rather see Sony avoid at the expense of a few months delay. Plus, if the hardware still isn't final, final - would you want to Sony launch an under-tested product?
Also, there are lots of comments appearing about how it is doomed due to market erosion by phones and iPad. I think there are still enough core gamers (spending hundreds of millions of dollars a month) on consoles and games for us not to worry about iPad (2-3 times the price) or phone games.
In fact there's a reasonable chance people who never got into gaming will try some phone games, see what the NGP can do and upgrade... it only takes a small percentage of one billion phone users to give NGP a boost.
Still - those business insiders sometimes know what they're talking about - so perhaps Sony is on the ball, on the case and ready to rock gaming with an awesome machine and a cracking line-up of games.