Bolt from the blue, much?
Nintendo has today put out one of the shortest - and frankly bizarrely formatted - press releases for some time, but it does say something highly significant: we're getting a DS2 with 3D!
"Nintendo Co, will launch 'Nintendo 3DS' (temp) during the fiscal year ending March 2011 on which games can be enjoyed with 3D effects without the need for any special glasses" said the release. "Nintendo 3DS (temp) is going to be the new portable game machine to succeed 'Nintendo DS series'... and will include backward compatibility so that the software for Nintendo DS series, including the ones for Nintendo DSi, can also be enjoyed. We are planning to announce additional details at E3 show, which is scheduled to be held from June 15, 2010 at Los Angeles in the US".
Yep, short and sweet.
So what do we make of it? Firstly 3D screens without glasses aren't anything new - but they do need to be viewed from a specific 'sweet spot' to work. This is virtually impossible to maintain with a TV (which could be mounted at any height, have the sofa/chairs positioned at an array of angles), but does make sense with the more fixed position of portable gaming.
On top of this we'd expect Nintendo to keep the same dual screen touch sensitive form factor (probably with a resistive screen because of the need for stylus support), but to make it slimmer and more powerful (even if Nintendo has never been focused too much on the raw power of its hardware).
Aside from this, who knows? Other than to say those who bought a Nintendo DSi XL on its 5 March European launch date should feel reassured that we're unlikely to see the 3DS (or whatever it ends up being called) before 2011...
Image a mock-up courtesy of Gizmodo
Press Release (PDF/crazy font warning)