[Update] The more we see of this 3DS concept, the more we doubt it's the real deal. Poor composite and Photoshop work is the primary culprit. Still, while we agree that this handheld would be an ergonomic nightmare, the mock-up is worth checking out for the sake of intrigue.

Pictures of a mysterious new handheld device are beginning to circulate the net and the rumor mill has already begun speculating that it's our first look at Nintendo’s 3DS.  We weren’t expecting to see anything about the new handheld till E3, but all three hardware developers have been plagued with leaks prior to the show in years past.  We contacted Nintendo for clarification, but they have no official comment on the matter. For now the mystery handheld remains firmly in the rumor category, but the details available can be found below.

According to an obscure Japanese website – Munch Blog – the pictures were taken without permission from the manufacturer and don’t represent a final product – whatever that product may be. The most defining characteristic is that the device boasts only a single large screen – not a dual setup like the current handheld DS iterations. However, Nintendo promised that the 3DS would remain backwards compatible and this is easily possible by splitting the large screen in two.

The device also pivots in a portrait or landscape orientation to reveal a traditional gamepad with a standard button layout and a single analog stick. Speakers are found on the sides of the start/select setup, and the device features two cameras that can rotate 180 degrees, allowing for the promised DSi compatibility.

From an application standpoint, we see the individual demoing the product as a writing tablet and a scanner. He also uses the twin cameras to showcase a 3D pointing function and even some augmented reality mechanics.

Poor translation leaves most details about the mysterious piece of hardware sketchy. Still, if this is a simple mod or prototype by an enthusiastic fan, we’re impressed.

So what do you think? Is this the real deal? Or do you expect an entirely different product come June?