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3DS dev hardware images sighted?

Two screens, only one is stereo 3D.

Nintendo appears to be testing a new DS - very likely the 3DS - with the US Federal Communications Commission.

Images of the testing, seemingly now removed from the FCC filing, showed what is referred to as a "Nintendo CTR Target Board".

The company's aim with this deposition was seemingly to get the Wi-Fi card used by the system approved for use in the USA.

So what is this board exactly, and what does it tell us? The only image we have was initially posted at the end of last month by WirelessGoodness, and brought to our attention by reader Daniele Brigliadori, and can be seen below.

It looks like a Nintendo DS test kit or development station stripped down to the motherboard. As the testing was all about the Wi-Fi card, its components have been highlighted in the FCC's images.

WirelessGoodness surmised that it may be a new iteration of DS, or it could simply be a test board submitted by Nintendo to get approval for the inclusion of a new Wi-Fi card for the existing model.

However, the twin screen arrangement on this system is unlike anything seen in any current DS system. All DS systems released to date feature dual 4:3 screens, but what we are clearly seeing here is a widescreen display paired with the more traditional display.

If this is the new Nintendo 3DS in test kit form, it suggests that the system retains its unique dual-screen set-up, but that only one of the displays features Sharp's auto-stereoscopic 3D tech, with the second, lower screen running without the 3D functionality.

It's a shame that the only photograph we have is low-resolution, making in-depth examination of the setup of the board all but impossible. However, we do see the inclusion of stereo speakers, a slot for DS cartridges plus the usual SD card port too - standard for the normal DS of course, but expected for the new hardware any way.

Perhaps the biggest tell, however, is the codename: CTR. Each of the Nintendo hardware revisions for the DS has been given such a three-letter codename. The Nintendo DSi is referred to internally as TWL, while its jumbo counterpart, the DSi XL, is known as UTL. The CTR designation hasn't been used before, which along with the screen configuration suggests a brand new kind of Nintendo DS.

With the firm extremely unlikely to launch a new iteration of the existing hardware with the 3DS just around the corner, it does strongly suggest that this is indeed development hardware strongly connected to a new platform.

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Richard Leadbetter avatar

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.