TOKYO Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co Ltd plans to launch a new model of its DS handheld machine that can take pictures and play music by the end of the year, the Nikkei business daily said on Sunday.
The move would pit the top-selling portable game gear with Apple Inc iPod and camera-embedded cellphones in general.
The price for the new machine, which will also be equipped with advanced wireless communications functions, is expected to be below 20,000 yen ($189) in Japan, compared with 16,800 yen for the current model, the Nikkei said.
The Wii game console and DS have been Nintendo's twin growth engines, helping its share price to grow more than three-fold over the past three years.
The DS far outsells Sony Corp's rival machine, PlayStation Portable (PSP), globally.
But in Japan, the PSP's unit sales exceeded the DS's in five consecutive months through July, according to game magazine publisher Enterbrain, in a potential sign of slowing momentum for the current DS model.
Nintendo officials were not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)