After a mysterious announcement several weeks ago about a new system it plans to debut at E3, Nintendo has come clean a few months earlier than expected, revealing its tentatively titled Nintendo DS. The company certainly wasn't joking when it promised something entirely new to the video game world; the NDS features two 3-inch LCD screens, aligned vertically, in a new portable designed to be compatible with both the Game Boy Advance and the GameCube.
What are the advantages to such a configuration? According to the official Nintendo of America press release: "...in a soccer game, users can view the whole game on one screen while simultaneously focusing on an individual soccer player's tackle or goal on the other screen." One might well also imagine any number of RPG applications, from eliminating subscreens as they now exist to opening entirely new avenues for battle systems.
The NDS's two screens are backlit, and the system is powered by an ARM9 main processor and an ARM7 subprocessor. Game software, meanwhile, will end up on semiconductor memory modules with the capability to hold one gigabit of data (as compared with the 256 megabit capacity of GBA cartridges).
Gamers will still have to wait until E3 to see the NDS in action; Nintendo plans to unveil it in fully playable glory at the expo in May. Thereafter, a worldwide release is planned for the end of 2004. There has been no mention of launch titles as yet, nor has a price been given.