But before you get too excited and spill your Sunny D all over the keyboard, it’s worth noting that it’s essentially a DS with slight modifications rather an all-new machine. Improvements include larger screens (3.25 inches, up from 3 inches), two cameras (both 0.3 megapixel), an SD card slot and a built-in web browser.

This is all very well but the thing that has us most excited here at Virtual Console Reviews is the ability to download games to the machine. As we hypothesised some time ago, Nintendo’s next handheld must surely feature a Virtual Console service of some description – we just didn’t expect it to arrive until the DS2 was released. It seems we might get our dream a little earlier than we thought!

Obviously with the news being so fresh it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what games will be available for download; the removal of the GBA slot from the machine has led some to speculate that GBA titles may be the first pieces of software available for digital distribution. Others have claimed that bite-sized ‘mini games’ will fit the bill, but we hope that Nintendo will see the sheer potential of bringing retro gaming to their handheld. With the Wii Virtual Console service already up and running, surely it would not take a massive amount of effort to migrate the service to the DSi as well.

The new machine is due for release in Japan in Novemeber, with a Western launch following sometime next year (Spring 2009 for Europe, so Nintendo say). In the meantime, why not have a look around Nintendo’s (Japanese) DSi site.