Honestly, this price tag and the 3DS's technology makes a lot of sense.
Both the DS and the Wii have shown that enticing innovations in hardware/software are more important than the price of the system (provided the price isn't downright prohibitive), and this is why the sales trends of both devices have correlated primarily with the release of new software (Nintendogs, Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Mario Kart) as opposed to initial pricing and subsequent price drops.
I think Nintendo view both devices, particularly the Wii, as a missed opportunity of sorts, as in both cases they could've increased the hardware power, base capabilities, and price of the devices just a little, enabling them to capture the coveted blue market while also eating into their competitors' markets.
I imagine that had Nintendo originally launched a Wii that was roughly equal to or slightly less powerful than the 360, breaking even at around $299 (as opposed to making a nice profit at $249), the Wii would've captured both the casual and a good chunk of the hardcore markets, and it would indeed be the ps2 of this generation.
The fact that the 3DS is a mix of both Nintendo's unique gaming flavor and cutting edge technology shows they probably think this as well. They are trying to make a DS plus PSP plus more (fix the damn plus signs!), directly aiming at what little of the handheld market Sony still has.
Sony at least has some reason to be happy, though. A $249 price tag makes it much easier for them to price the PSP2 competitively against the 3DS. Of course, assuming it doesn't include a 3D screen (which I don't think it will), they'd have to price themselves at or below $249. It'd be nigh impossible to justify a higher price to consumers when you lack such an notable feature compared to the competition, no matter what else you may have to brag about.
Word is PSP2 devkits have been making the rounds these past few months, with first party studios having kits as far back as a year ago. Supposedly the system is quite far along, and the reason Sony hasn't made any announcements yet is because they've been waiting for Nintendo to announce 3DS launch details. I believe this is true, and I think the price in particular is what they were waiting on. Well now they have it, so I guess we'll see how they'll react soon.