Wii U patent reveals tablet details

Magnetometer and flash memory spotted.

Wii U tablet schematics found in a new Nintendo patent have confirmed several features for the company's upcoming console.

Diagrams of how the touch-screen controller will work (first spotted by NeoGAF) include descriptions of a magnetometer and flash memory.

Mentions of the handheld's microphone, speaker and camera functions in turn confirm yet more features.

Flash memory is similarly to be expected. The Wii Remote contains a small amount, enough to transfer Mii characters from one Wii to another. How much will the Wii U tablet contain? Enough to save game progress? Enough to save a princess?

The magnetometer meanwhile is likely for motion control calibration. Sony uses the same technology in Move and Vita. It helps keep motion-sensing devices properly orientated, which should mean no more "place your controller on a flat surface" messages current Wii Motion Plus games often require.

Other components listed include the tablet's wireless and IR communication modules - for communication with the Wii U base unit, but probably also the Nintendo 3DS.

There's no new information on the Wii U's mysterious central console unit, said to have at least as much horsepower as Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360.

Stuffed to the gills with features, how high will the Wii U controller push the console's overall cost? Don't expect to find out before 2012. Nintendo has said it will keep schtum on Wii U price and launch details until next year.

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