According to Nikkei.net, the website of Japan’s leading business newspaper, a new Nintendo DS model is in the works. The new model will sport a built-in digital camera, music playback capabilities, and improved wireless functionality (these are not its only new features; these are all that are known right now).
In regard to the improved wireless functionality, the article reports that the new model will be used as an information terminal. This probably means the DS will feature internet access and a built-in web browser (like with the iPhone and new iPods), though this would definitely require larger screens on the new model’s part. Nintendo released a web browser cartridge a while ago that allowed the DS to act as a web browser when in Wi-Fi range. Could that have been a precursor to having internet on the new DS model? After all, FireRed and LeafGreen were packaged with wireless adapters that allowed for wireless communication on the GameBoy Advance, and now we have wireless communication for the DS.
From what the article reports on music playback, it indirectly appears like the new model will support some sort of memory storage. It could feature a built-in hard drive, since the article does briefly mention that the new DS can somehow record music from CDs. Another possibility is that it will support memory card usage, such as SD cards you store music on.
It is not known if any future games will make use of the new built-in camera. It is probably unlikely, since such games would not be able to use a camera on the previous two DS models.
Nikkei Newspaper also speculates Nintendo has added the aforementioned multimedia features to compete against other consumer electronics, such as cell phones (and probably the iPod, PSP, and digital cameras). If Nintendo can package a gaming system with the internet, an iPod, and a digital camera (which has not been done yet), then they are definitely creating a competitive product. The new DS is set to be released in Japan later this year, but a United States release is not planned at this time.
Thanks go to Bangiras for translating the online newspaper article! We’ll bring you more news in the upcoming week about this new model as it becomes available.