Leaked Nintendo DS specs reveal touch screen, Wi-Fi, 3D graphics

'Nitro' details reveal a very different beast to the GBA


A document leaked onto the Internet purporting to be a full specification for Nintendo's forthcoming DS handheld includes a touch panel input device, 802.11 wireless LAN support and a 3D graphics system.

The one-page specification summary, written entirely in Japanese, also provides further confirmation of many things we already knew about the DS, which has recently been revealed to have the codename 'Nitro', although it's not clear whether that is purely a development codename or if it will find its way onto the final product branding.

As expected, the system will have two processors, with an ARM-9 CPU running at 67MHz and an ARM-7 unit running at 33MHz. Retail DS devices will have 4Mb of main RAM (while debug development units will have double that), with additional chunks of cache and shared RAM for the processors and 656Kb of video RAM.

The real surprises, however, come from things which Nintendo didn't even hint at in its original announcement. The system will possess decent 2D capabilities, but it also has a 3D graphics system which, the spec. claims, is capable of drawing 120,000 polygons per second, representing a fill-rate of 30 million pixels per second.

That figure hardly puts it into the same league as the PSP for 3D performance, but it's the first time that a Nintendo handheld has featured hardware accelerated 3D, and should open up significant new possibilities for games on the device.

As, indeed, should the other two revelations on the leaked document: the inclusion of Wi-Fi and of a touch panel input device.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had already indicated that the device would have wireless capabilities of some description, but most commentators expected that to be the short range Bluetooth system, rather that the much faster and longer-range 802.11 protocol. We wonder what kind of functionality Nintendo has in mind that could call for wireless connections over 50 to 100 metre distances...

Sadly no further information is given about the touch panel (the spec' simply says "touch panel" in a section on input devices, where it is listed alongside the standard Nintendo handheld input system of d-pad, four buttons (A, B, L and R) and Start/Select buttons), but it seems fair to assume that one of the actual screens may be touch sensitive, which would again open up an intriguing number of possibilities for designers.

The screens themselves are marginally more high resolution than the GBA, with two 256 x 192 resolution panels included in the spec., compared to the 240 x 160 panel in the GBA. Speaking of which, there's no indication here that the system will be compatible with GBA games, as has been suggested by many commentators, but equally the possibility isn't ruled out and the system should certainly be more than capable of running GBA titles if Nintendo wishes to do so.

Of course, a single leaked screenshot of a Japanese document doesn't constitute hard proof of any description, and this document should be taken with a pinch of salt - but if it is a forgery, it's a rather good one (at least to our pidgin Japanese reading eyes). The Nintendo DS remains one of the more unusual propositions for a game console that we've seen for some time, but if the document is for real, the inclusion of 3D, wireless LAN and touch panel hardware certainly just made it a lot more interesting.

Copyright © 2004, GamesIndustry.biz


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading
  • FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data
    Trade watchdog, and President, reminds that COPPA can ban ya

    The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it intends to take action against educational technology companies that unlawfully collect data from children using online educational services.

    In a policy statement, the agency said, "Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools."

    The agency says it will scrutinize educational service providers to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations under COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading
  • SmartNICs power the cloud, are enterprise datacenters next?
    High pricing, lack of software make smartNICs a tough sell, despite offload potential

    SmartNICs have the potential to accelerate enterprise workloads, but don't expect to see them bring hyperscale-class efficiency to most datacenters anytime soon, ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala told The Register.

    SmartNICs are widely deployed in cloud and hyperscale datacenters as a means to offload input/output (I/O) intensive network, security, and storage operations from the CPU, freeing it up to run revenue generating tenant workloads. Some more advanced chips even offload the hypervisor to further separate the infrastructure management layer from the rest of the server.

    Despite relative success in the cloud and a flurry of innovation from the still-limited vendor SmartNIC ecosystem, including Mellanox (Nvidia), Intel, Marvell, and Xilinx (AMD), Kerravala argues that the use cases for enterprise datacenters are unlikely to resemble those of the major hyperscalers, at least in the near term.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022