On January 19, Nintendo will jump-start 2011 with an all-day event in which many believe the publisher will illuminate the remaining secrets surrounding its upcoming glasses-free 3D handheld, the 3DS. With such questions as a North American release date and price still outstanding, it appears as if a number of the 3DS's final specs have been preemptively revealed, courtesy of photos surreptitiously taken by an individual who claims to work in a 3DS manufacturing plant.
As reported by enthusiast blog 3DSbuzz.com, the images of the handheld device first appeared on a Japanese gaming forum, before being pulled by moderators. The photos show a "Cosmo Black" 3DS that strongly resembles the model Nintendo has been showing since the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the event Nintendo chose to formally unveil the device. However, as the gaming blog notes, Nintendo has slightly tweaked the hardware by flattening the Start, Home, and Select buttons to be flush with the device.
The factory worker also delivered a handful of previously unknown 3DS system specifications. Namely, the device will reportedly feature 96MB of RAM, as well as a 1,300mAh battery. The DS Lite included a 1,000mAh battery, while the DSi's battery clocked in at 840mAh.
In addition to the photos, the employee also posted a since-pulled YouTube video of the smuggled device, one that shows relative size differences between the 3DS, DSi, and DS Lite.
The 3DS is scheduled to arrive in Japan on February 26, costing ¥25,000 ($306), and before April in Europe and North America. A number of first- and third-party titles have already been announced for the handheld, including installments in the Kid Icarus, Mario Kart, Metal Gear Solid, and Dragon Quest franchises. For more information, check out GameSpot's latest breakdown of the 3DS.