UPDATE: Corbie, our man at E3, has just been in touch with his first thoughts on the 3DS:
Played the 3DS in person and it's unreal. The level of depth and clarity on the screen is incredible. And the graphics potential has to be at least on par with Wii, maybe even better. Analog stick was smooth and responsive. I can't wait to get more time with it. Heading back to the LA Convention Center for booth visits and interview. I'll post more stuff later this evening.
Today at Nintendo's E3 2010 press conference we got the first look at the company's new handheld, the 3DS. No alternative name was announced for the machine and there was no suggestion this is a temporary name, so we can assume that Nintendo is sticking with the 3DS name until launch.
Looking a lot like the regular DS, the machine boasts a 3.5" widescreen on top and a touchscreen on the bottom that appears to be the same size as that of the DSi. Speaking of the decision to only include a touchscreen on the bottom, Satoru Iwata commented on the smudges and scratches that can affect the efficacy of the 3D effect, leaving us to speculate that perhaps the bottom screen may not be 3D. Our man in the Nokia Theatre, Corbie Dillard, is getting hands-on with the 3DS right now so we'll bring you confirmation of that in our First Impressions as soon as they arrive.
With an analogue stick-like "slide pad" as well as a regular D-Pad, that's not the end of the new control methods: the 3DS also includes a gyroscopic sensor and a motion sensor, paving the way for a far more physical style of gaming than the regular DS. There's full backwards compatibility with DSi software as well, which Reggie Fils-Aime called "ample game content at launch", and the machine boasts two outward-facing cameras that allows you to take and view pictures in full 3D.
There's also a larger emphasis on online functionality, with a WiiConnect24-like ability for the console to search out other users and download new data even whilst in sleep mode, whether the correct game is loaded or not. Promising new quests, items and levels just by taking your 3DS out and about, this is Nintendo's next step in the evolution of online content for the machine and one that opens up countless possibilities. There was no announcement of a DSiWare transfer solution or any confirmation of the machine's downloadable catalogue.
One of the machine's biggest surprises is its ability to play movie files in 3D: although Mr Iwata didn't announce a specific plan to deliver this content to users, 3D trailers of Hollywood movies will be available to watch on the showfloor and there'll undoubtedly be more on this one in the future.
Nintendo have now announced the full specifications of the device:
Size (when closed): Approximately 5.3 inches wide, 2.9 inches long, 0.8 inches tall.
Weight: Approximately 8 ounces.
Look: Final design is TBA.
Top Screen: 3.53-inch widescreen LCD display, enabling 3D view without the need for special glasses; with 800x240 pixel resolution (400 pixels are allocated for each eye to enable 3D viewing).
Touch Screen: 3.02-inch LCD with 320x240 pixel resolution with a touch screen.
Cameras: One inner camera and two outer cameras with 640x480 (0.3 Mega) pixel resolution.
Pre-Installed Software: TBA
Nintendo 3DS Game Card: 2 GB Max. at launch.
Wireless Communication: Can communicate in the 2.4 GHz band. Multiple Nintendo 3DS systems can connect via a local wireless connection to let users communicate or enjoy competitive game play. Systems also can connect to LAN access points to access the Internet and allow people to enjoy games with others. Will support IEEE 802.11 with enhanced security (WPA/WPA2). Nintendo 3DS hardware is designed so that even when not in use, it can automatically exchange data with other Nintendo 3DS systems or receive data via the Internet while in sleep mode.
Game Controls: Touch screen, embedded microphone, A/B/X/Y face buttons, + Control Pad, L/R buttons, Start and Select buttons, "Slide Pad" that allows 360-degree analog input, one inner camera, two outer cameras, motion sensor and a gyro sensor.
Other Input Controls: 3D Depth Slider to adjust level of 3D effect (can be scaled back or turned off completely depending on the preference of the user), Home button to call system function, Wireless switch to turn off wireless communications (even during game play), Power button. The telescoping stylus is approximately 4 inches when fully extended.
Input/Output: A port that accepts both Nintendo 3DS game cards and game cards for the Nintendo DS™ family of systems, an SD memory card slot, an AC adapter connector, a charging cradle terminal and a stereo headphone output jack.
Sound: Stereo speakers positioned to the left and right of the top screen.
Battery: Lithium ion battery details TBA.
As for games that you'll be able to play on the machine, only one was visible: Masuhiro Sakurai's "Project Sora", now known as Kid Icarus: Uprising, which we'll be bringing you more information on later alongside Nintendo and third-party games that have been announced from THQ, Konami, Ubisoft and more.