Nintendo unveils new Game Boy and Gamecube

The Japanese electronic toy maker previewed the Gamecube, as well as its new portable Game Boy Advance at the Spaceworld trade show in Tokyo, Nintendo said in a statement.

In its new incarnation, the popular Game Boy toy will have a screen size 50 percent larger than the current product - with the 32-bit RISC (reduced instruction set computer) central processor replacing the current 8-bit model - and its screen resolution will improve by 60 percent due to a reflective TFT-LCD (thin-film transistor liquid crystal display) that uses a high contrast white pane against a color screen capable of displaying 500 colors simultaneously, Nintendo said.

Both the 32-bit hand-held Game Boy and the Gamecube will have the ability to work together as well as over the internet. The Game Boy handheld will hit the Japanese market in March of next year, with a suggested retail price of 9800 yen ($US91.51), Nintendo said.

The portable game will be made available in the US and Europe through Nintendo's US division, Nintendo of America, the following July, though the company did not disclose any suggested pricing.

Nintendo's hand-held Game Boy first went on the market 11 years ago, and the company celebrated the sale of its 100 millionth Game Boy machine last June.

Nintendo's game console announcement comes well behind the highly publicised launch plans of next-generation game consoles from Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment and Sega Enterprises Ltd. The Sony PlayStation 2 hit the market in Japan in March and is planned to make its debut in the US in October for a suggested retail price of $US299.

Sega's Dreamcast game console went on sale in Japan in mid-July, and the company announced plans to launch a broadband internet service for Dreamcast users by the end of August. Microsoft announced in March that it will be launching its first ever home game console, which goes under the code-name of X-Box, sometime in 2001.

Nintendo said that its Gamecube will feature a 405MHz copper wire central processor created by IBM, a graphics co-processor from ATI Technologies and 40M bytes of memory.

Accessories will include a 56K-bps (bits per second) modem with plans to introduce a broadband modem, though the company did not disclose when it would be introduced. The Gamecube will have a wireless controller; two Digicard slots for either 4M-byte Digicard flash memory cards or a 64M-byte SD-Digicard adapter, as well as high speed ports and both analog and digital AV outputs, Nintendo said.

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