Another DS redesign is practically inevitable, but do the latest internet rumblings ring with truth?

Over the weekend, news reports out of Japan suggested a newly redesigned Nintendo DS model featuring expanded non-gaming functionality is on its way. The new model will include improved wireless capabilities, a built-in camera, and music playing functions, reports Nikkei Net, the online edition of Japan’s leading corporate and economic newspaper. The upgraded DS is expected to launch in Japan sometime this year with plans for an eventual U.S. release still being explored. Could the company be positioning the DS to compete with the iPod, cell phone, and other non-gaming specific gadget markets?

NOA President Reggie Fils-Aime is on the record saying a new redesigned DS would not come until sales of the handheld begin to slow down. Given the DS’ current rate of popularity, seeing yet another upgraded iteration in the immediate future does not seem a strong likelihood. Last month’s NPD sales data places the DS at the top of the pack.

Not surprisingly, Nintendo will neither confirm nor deny the reported DS upgrade. “We are always developing new products. However, since nothing has been announced officially, we are unable to comment at this time,” the company said in a recently issued statement.

Whether or not any official word about a potential redesign will come out of Nintendo’s upcoming media briefings in Tokyo and San Francisco later this week is still to be seen. Anything is possible.

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