At E3 in L.A. earlier this month, Nintendo was quiet about a rumored hardware update for its 3DS handheld.
But today, Nintendo officially unveiled the Nintendo 3DS XL, a larger version of the company's 3D stereoscopic handheld console.
Nintendo said the 3DS XL -- known as 3DS LL in Japan -- sports a 4.88-inch upper screen, and a 4.18-inch bottom touch screen, compared to the current 3DS' respective 3.53- and 3.02- inch screens (the DSi XL's screens were 4.2 inches).
The updated device is scheduled to hit North American retail, with a 4GB memory card, on August 19 for $199.99, strategically dated for the same day as New Super Mario Bros. 2
's release. It will arrive at Japanese retail on July 28 for 18,900 yen ($235), and the same date in Europe (price to be announced).
Despite the significantly larger viewing areas, Nintendo said the 3DS XL will have a longer battery life than the current 3DS. 3DS software on the 3DS XL will allow players 3.5-6.5 hours of battery life, while DS software will allow for 6-10 hours. That's compared to the current 3DS' 3-5 hours and 5-8 hours, respectively.
Nintendo said since the February 26, 2011 Japanese launch of the 3DS, the company has sold-through an estimated 6.3 million units in Japan. As of the end of March this year, the company had sold over 17 million units globally.