Here's our vision of the next Nintendo DS, compiled from rumors, logic and (wet) dreams. It's got a slimmer profile and a seamless shell thanks to a MacBook-style hinge. Inside: more power, larger screens—the top one being a 3.5-inch widescreen to play downloaded movies—a flash card slot for media and continuation of that amazing sleeker look. Hit the jump for our high-definition mock-up with full specs.
First of all, while this may not be the actual next-gen DS, it can't be very far from the truth. We don't want anything crazy: in fact, most of the things we ask for here are already being contemplated by Nintendo, according to the latest rumors.
Bring on the Power-Ups
Internally, we would like a slightly faster processor and better graphics. Given the prevalence of integrated chipsets that combine 3D graphics, multimedia and communications into a single low-voltage die, it would be very easy for Nintendo to upgrade the engine of its flagship.
At the core, the latest generation of processors will guarantee the very low power consumption crucial to a portable. Thanks to phones and PMPs, the price of these components has come down to the point where it's economically feasible for the big N to eat a few mushrooms and make the Nintendo DS a portable console closer in performance to the GameCube than to the Nintendo64. It could be capable of driving denser, more complex 3D graphics, offering proper speech recognition (unlike Brain Training now) and displaying built-in video decompression and scaling.
We also wouldn't mind Nintendo dropping compatibility with old Game Boy games, provided it added 1) an emulation engine connected to the Nintendo Wii arcade store (with Game Boy titles) and 2) an SD card slot, to store those games as well as movies.
The icing on the cake would be an accelerometer inside. These could open new possibilities to games. One of my favorite games in the iPhone is Labyrinth, which allows you to guide a ball through a maze using the accelerometer, just like you use the Wiimote. Nintendo actually pioneered this back in the Game Boy Color days with Kirby Tilt n' Tumble so we're really just asking to bring it back.
Finally, a built-in light sensor could be used for two things: first, to save energy by dynamically regulating the backlighting of the screens according to the ambient light and second, for games like Boktai.
Shiny! So nice!
Outside, the Nintendo DS will be an evolution of the current design. The new DS would close perfectly, like a slim, silver white clamshell with sightly-rounded edges. Thanks to the MacBook-style hinge, the surface will not have any breaks, looking like silver ingot in your hands except for the matte DS logo on top, plus the necessary slots on the sides and the requisite lettering and battery compartment seam on the bottom.
Inside, the color should be black, getting back to the old-style Nintendo GameWatch two-color scheme but updated to 2008. On the top part, the new 3.5-inch widescreen—capable to display both games and movies played from the SD flash card— will maintain the quality of the current version but with a slightly higher resolution. We're not asking for much, just 480 x 272 pixels. It would be placed on top of a black anodized aluminum surface, micro-perforated so you can listen to the speakers and use the microphone. The light sensor would also be hidden here.
On the bottom, the black polycarbonate and a new bigger touchscreen will be covered by a single pane of mineral glass to avoid scratching, make it easier to clean and, especially, increase the display visibility.
That's it, our dreamed-up, drool-worthy, perfectly doable, next-generation Nintendo DS.