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Nintendo said to be to launching new DS with camera

Nintendo plans to launch a new version of its popular DS portable gaming device with a camera and music player function, according to a report in the Sunday edition of The Nikkei Business Daily.

The new version will have better wireless capability for connecting to the Internet and will cost under ¥20,000 (US$189), the report said. It will be offered first in Japan, it said.

Nintendo was not immediately available for comment.

The company is scheduled to present an unnamed "new product" at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday and speculation has been rife that it would be a new version of the DS.

The DS first went on sale in 2004 and a second version, called the DS Lite, debuted two years later in 2006. Both have sold extremely well with worldwide sales of the DS products at 77.5 million units as of the end of June this year.

In Japan, a total of 23 million of the devices have been sold in the country -- roughly one for every fifth person -- but in recent months sales have started to slow. In the April to June quarter Nintendo sold 580,000 units in Japan versus 2.1 million in the same period of 2007 so analysts have predicted a refresh of the DS might be coming to stimulate sales.

For the current fiscal year to the end of March 2009 Nintendo predicts it will sell 28 million units of the DS.