It's almost as much fun speculating about new gaming hardware as it is playing on current-gen consoles, so color us intrigued at DigitalFoundry's "credible sources" who are saying that the next-gen Nintendo DS will run NVIDIA's Tegra 2 and that it's "not unrealistic" that the handheld will out-grunt the current Nintendo Wii. Problem is, Sony's next-gen PSP2 has also seen a few spilled details, and that's looking even more impressive: think along the lines of potential GPU power in-between the original Xbox and the Xbox 360.
That's thanks to the upcoming IMG SGX543, which is expected to drop as a four-core 45nm chip variant into the next-gen PSP: "a single core SGX543 should match and potentially exceed the performance of Tegra 2 clock-for-clock" says DigitalFoundry. Considering the potential of the Tegra 2, that's quite a performance hike.
Unfortunately, there are caveats all round; the OMAP5-based dual-core SGX543 isn't expected until 2011, and IMG have been critisized for their driver support, meaning that while the raw power may be there it remains to be seen whether game developers will be able to take advantage of it. Meanwhile NVIDIA are better at pushing out support, and the Tegra 2 is on course for a 2010 launch. That means the next-gen Nintendo DS could be on the market next year, potentially with integrated 3G with no subscription.