For starters, Nikkei believes Nintendo’s new 3DS will include a stick (a thumbstick?) used to manipulate objects in 3D. Add vibration-feedback to the roster, designed “to communicate attacks and strikes to the player.” Nikkei claims Nintendo nabbed patents for both technologies (presumably in a 3D context) last year.
Expect the 3DS’s integrated wireless to speed up as in the new model, probably to 802.11g. The current models have 802.11b WLAN chip (11Mbit/s), and while 802.11n can handle blazing speeds notwithstanding bottlenecks, 802.11g (54Mbit/s) would be plenty fast.
Look for a battery life boost as well, perhaps a return to DS Lite levels–the newer DSi only lasts about 9 hours on average, versus 15 hours for the DS Lite.
And in a move sure to grab Apple’s attention, the 3DS may include an accelerometer, i.e. a “tilt sensor.” Apple’s iPad and iPhone also employ this technology. Of course we already heard about this back in January.
Japanese news site Daily Yomiuri believes the system will use a Sharp 3D LCD panel that places an additional layer over the screen to create the 3D effect per slight differences in the image seen by either eye. If accurate, that sounds a lot like 3D screen technology previewed at CeBit.
But what about viewing 3D on a tiny handheld device?
According to Nikkei, the 3DS’s screen (singular in the Adriansang report, though this could be a translation error) will measure less than 4 inches, corner to corner.
Imagine viewing a movie like Avatar in 3D on the PSP. Would you really care about the 3D effect in a screen space that small? Remember, we’re talking about a screen that’s typically positioned a foot or more from your eyes. It’s not like a Viewmaster, which can do full stereographic field of view imaging because it’s held directly up to your eyes.
So in summary, here’s what we know: Nintendo says it will release a 3D version of its DS handheld in Japan by March 2011. Full stop.
Here’s what we don’t know, but wish we did: Will the resolution be higher? Will the processor be dramatically faster? Will it use Nvidia’s Tegra 3D chip as previously speculated? Will older DS games be natively processed or emulated? Will it still have two cameras? Will they be any sharper than the low-quality pair in the current DSi? What sort of audio system will it use? Will one or both of the screens be touch-sensitive? Will we still use a stylus? And most importantly: Is the new model meant to be a stepwise family increment, like all the DS’s, or is it a completely new family, like the leap from the Game Boy Advance to the original DS?
And here’s what we don’t know, but some are claiming: The new model will include a 3D control stick, rumble feedback, faster wireless, better battery life, a single (or is that pair of?) slightly-less-than-four-inch LCD(s), and an accelerometer.
Oh, and Nikkei thinks it’ll actually ship 2010 (in Japan, anyway) and not 2011.