A new patent filing from Nintendo for what's presumably going to be the Nintendo NX (or its controller) has made its way into the public. The new controller interface appears to have touchscreen functionality. There's also a second image showing a device almost identical to the JXD Android device, which was based on the Nintendo Wii U's GamePad.
IGN caught wind of the new patent information from analyst ZhugeEX who posted the information on Twitter. The device will be used as a "handheld information processing apparatus". The images of the patent-pending device appear to show a wireless handheld that looks about as small as the average smartphone.
An image of the screen is showcased in another figure that reveals that the Nintendo NX device's touchscreen will support buttons on the display.
It's very similar to the on-screen button prompts found in most smartphone devices when playing mobile games. A lot of times when simple swipes and slashes across the surface of the screen won't do, the games offer on-screen button prompts that are very similar to traditional gamepad layouts. Most times they resemble SNES controllers with two to four face buttons and a directional pad.
The image above showcases four directional buttons and two face buttons, the traditional 'A' and 'B' button. Another image of the device indicates that the on-screen controls won't be static, and they will move and shift around based on what the player is doing in the game, such as swapping the controls out for an inventory menu, or a weapon selection wheel.
Another image contradicts what we see above. It appears to be similar to a Nintendo 3DS but it doesn't have a second screen. It's a little bit like a miniature Wii U GamePad and 3DS fused together. It has four protuberant directional buttons, a left analog thumb pad, a screen in the center and four face buttons on the right side of the screen. The face buttons are, once again, similar to the SNES controller layout with the 'Y', 'X', 'B' and 'A' buttons showcased in the diagram.
The patent design is similar to Chinese company JXD's Android knockoff that was based on Nintendo's GamePad (pictured in the main image above). It's somewhat ironic that Nintendo is focusing on the mobile arena by knocking off the JXD's design, which was already a knockoff of the GamePad's design. I guess it all comes full circle, eh?
It's impossible to tell exactly how big this device will be or what it's true functionality is in relation to the other touchscreen device near the top of the article. Perhaps it's a functional sleeve for the other touchscreen? It could be a mobile version of something like the Wii-Mote controller shell that was made available back during the seventh generation.
Alternatively, it could be an all new device altogether. It's almost impossible to tell; given Nintendo's nonconformity to the standards of video game production models, the Nintendo NX could be two touchscreen devices, or it could be a single touchscreen device, or it could be a handheld with NFC capabilities for wireless Bluetooth devices. It's really tough to tell.
Rumors are also flying around that the Nintendo NX could be using cartridges instead of discs, but Nintendo has neither confirmed nor denied these rumors. The only thing we know for sure is that the device is set to launch in March of 2017... even though we still have no idea what it is exactly.