After months of implying that the company would produce something new in 2004, the Nintendo Co Ltd has officially announced the Nintendo DS, a portable, split-screen gaming unit.

It has been expected that Nintendo go in direct competition with Sony this year, who is also unveiling a handheld Playstation, the PSP. The PSP is due for release by the end of this year.

Details on the Nintendo DS are being deliberately held back until May, when the Electronic Entertainment Expo starts in LA. A Nintendo spokesperson said: "... This machine will be completely different than anything that exists right now."