Screens of delight

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COMMENTARY -- For a while it seemed Nintendo was trying to play the same sorts of cards that the Segway inventor used when he launched the world's most over-hyped scooter.

Late last year word came out that the Japanese gaming giant was going to launch a new gaming platform sometime this year, setting hordes of console fanboys into a frenzy of hype and speculation.

After this initial confusion Nintendo clarified that it would be a whole new product, not a new generation of its existing GameCube and Gameboy Advance products. It was a tactic tried before with the failed VR gaming headset, the Virtua Boy, and it had the industry abuzz at what exactly the new product would be.

Today Nintendo has announced the first details of its Nintendo DS, as the new system is codenamed. DS stands for dual screen, and the product is a portable gaming device with two vertically mounted 3in LCD screens, both run by separate CPUs. This is designed to allow games to take advantage of both screens to show different simultaneous viewpoints, or even statistics and inventories on one screen while gaming on the other.

Apart from the highly unspecific news that the memory will have bandwidth of up to one gigabit (no actual memory size was mentioned) that is the entirety of Nintendo's announcement, with more details and prototype units slated to be shown at this year's E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) show in Los Angeles in May.

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