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Nintendo announces 3-D handheld system

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Nintendo announced Tuesday that it’s working on a new handheld system with 3-D capabilities that’s tentatively called the Nintendo 3DS. The system, which will launch in Japan by March 2011, will allow gamers to view 3-D images without the need for special glasses. Although Nintendo hasn’t released details regarding how it’ll achieve this 3-D effect, one possible solution would require placing a film-like screen (called a “parallax barrier”) on top of the actual LCD screen. The parallax barrier would split the LCD’s light so that different patterns are directed to the gamer’s left and right eye, thereby simulating a 3-D image.

Nintendo hasn’t announced when the 3DS will be released in North America, although it’ll presumably be after the initial Japan release. The system is intended to succeed the immensely popular Nintendo DS series, which has sold more than 125 million units worldwide. The 3DS will also be backward compatible with software designed for both the Nintendo DS and DSi. Nintendo plans to fully unveil the 3DS at this year’s E3 gaming convention on June 15.

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