Nintendo’s Next Handheld Goes 3-Dimensional

Nintendo’s already got a surprising number of machines in the pipeline as far as portable gaming goes:  DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL.

Not content with just printing money, Nintendo announced today that they are going to be releasing the (tentatively named) Nintendo 3DS, which, according to the investor memo, will allow gamers to “enjoy 3D effects with the need for any special glasses.”  The new handheld will also support backwards compatibility to DS and DSi games.

No need to check the calendar; it’s not April 1st.

The company that Mario built promises many more details to come at this year’s E3 and a release date sometime within the next fiscal year.  (The attentive will note that the “next fiscal year” for Nintendo actually begins in April 2010, but seeing as Nintendo will reveal “additional details at E3 show” in June, you probably shouldn’t get your hopes up about seeing this any time soon.)

The sleuth and electrical engineer in me is trying to figure out what we can construe about the device from the scant details.  By being backwards compatible with DSi, we should be getting front-facing and rear-facing cameras.

Also, with a front-facing camera, it’s possible to get 3 dimensions without using glasses using that awesome head tracking technique popularized a few years ago by Johnny Chung Lee.  From a display perspective, you can get 3D without glasses simply by adding a small mesh-like grating in front of the screen and manipulating parallax of the image (although I hope they don’t do this because I have yet to see one that isn’t distracting.)

Gizmodo is also reporting the possibility of accelerometers, 720p video, and a possible SIM card.  I have don’t have a lot of faith in many of these being true, but then again… I wasn’t exactly expecting this news to pop up in the first place.

We’ll just have to keep an eye out for the official announcement in June.

Written by: Dwight Tejano

Dwight is the founder of Open the Fridge, which he started in 2008 and rebooted in 2010. Due to the nature of early adopting, his bank account is normally empty. He likes to sing in world-renown choruses to forget such things.

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