Nintendo 3DS gets pre-launch teardown

The first images of the innards powering Nintendo's upcoming 3DS handheld games console, due to bring cross-eyed joy to the UK in March, have leaked out ahead of its Japanese launch.

A production unit, clearly missing from some Taiwanese factory's stock, was disassembled and thoroughly photographed over on the Chinese-language site TVGZone.com, revealing the hardware that powers Nintendo's latest attempt at a 3D gaming console.

The detailed images of the external casing reveal what is already known: the controls are laid out in much the same way as the company's existing DS and DSi handheld consoles, with the addition of an analogue stick above the D-pad on the right. A small touch-sensitive screen sits on the bottom half of the clam-shell design, while a larger 3D screen - manufactured by Sharp - sits on the top.

With the casing taken away, a Nintendo-branded rechargeable lithium ion battery is revealed, claiming 1300mAh at 3.7V and marked with the model number CTR-003. As with Nintendo's previous handheld consoles, you'll be able to pop the battery out and replace it with a new one when it stops holding a charge quite so well.

The cartridge slot, on the top of the device, is joined in the 3DS with an SD-card slot in the side. The CPU of the device is revealed to be a Nintendo-branded processor that uses a design from British chip manufacturer ARM - another big win for the company after an excellent showing at the Consumer Electronics show last week.

While the remaining photographs, which are available in all their glory over on the TVGZone website, don't reveal many surprises, they're an interesting insight into a device that - like it or loathe it - is likely to become a big seller in 2011.