Nintendo has announced its newest portable hardware, the Nintendo 3DS (a name which is marked as "temp" in the brief press release issued by the company). This new handheld is planned for launch in Nintendo's next fiscal year, which ends March, 2011.
The new hardware is not an update to the original, 2004-launched Nintendo DS hardware -- as its Lite, DSi and DSi XL have been. According to the press release, the new platform will "succeed" the Nintendo DS -- which stands as Nintendo's most successful hardware platform ever.
The platform will allow users to play 3D games without the need for special glasses, the release said. No details on this technology, nor other aspects of the platform, beyond its backward compatibility with existing Nintendo DS and DSi games, was revealed.
Pricing and software lineup details are also presently undisclosed.
The release promised that more details will be revealed at Nintendo's E3 press conference. The E3 show begins June 15, 2010.
[UPDATE: More reports and analysis have emerged regarding the Nintendo 3DS since its announcement last night.
Japanese reports from the Nikkei business publication and Asahi (via Engadget) said the 3DS will achieve naked eye 3D by using a parallax barrier technique from electronics manufacturer Sharp. Some cell phones in Japan already use the technology.
The 3DS screen, according to Nikkei, would have screens smaller than four inches diagonally, making it smaller than the DSi LL, which has a 4.2 inch screen. Other features may include vibration and control sticks, but none of this has been confirmed by Nintendo.
Analyst Colin Sebastian with Lazard Capital Markets said Tuesday that he expects the 3DS to garner wide support from game publishers. "Given the significant popularity of Nintendo handhelds, its dominant position in the market, and track-record for successful innovation, we expect that game publishers including [Activision, Electronic Arts, and THQ]will back the platform with meaningful development resources," the analyst said.
"We also believe that a new DS will generate increasing unit sales for Nintendo driven by the new platform," he wrote. The Nintendo DS line of hardware has sold over 125 million units worldwide.
Sebastian also said the fact that the 3DS won't require 3D glasses opens up the handheld to the mass market. "If Nintendo is able to achieve a realistic 3D experience without the need for glasses, we believe 3DS could have broad appeal, and spark a new cycle of innovation within the industry," he said.
Sebastian added that he believes "the 3DS could help reduce the competitive threat from smartphones."]