A number of independent sources have suggested that a redesigned version of Nintendo's DS console will be unveiled next week, with new more compact hardware expected to replace dwindling stocks of the current system.

Rumours of a redesigned DS have been circulating for several months, but received a boost last month when Japanese magazine Famitsu reported that a Nintendo hardware redesign was in the pipeline - which instantly suggests the DS, since the GameCube is to be replaced by the backwards-compatible Revolution later this year, and the GBA was redesigned as the Game Boy Micro only a few months ago.

Nintendo's US marketing manager Reggie Fils-Aime also confirmed late last year that a redesign of the DS was on the cards, and now leading Hong Kong based videogames import retailer Lik-Sang has reported that the new hardware will be unveiled on Monday in Japan.

Lik-Sang's report ties in with comments made by a Japanese retail source who spoke to GamesIndustry.biz this week, saying that stock levels of the Nintendo DS continue to be low in the wake of the console selling out over the New Year period, but that Nintendo representatives have advised them that a major announcement will be made shortly.

UK retailers we spoke to this afternoon, however, claimed to have heard no information from Nintendo regarding any imminent redesign or change to the Nintendo DS strategy in this territory, but were aware of persistent rumours of redesigned hardware, with one saying that he had heard from a major publisher that a new DS would be on shelves worldwide "by E3 at the latest" - referring to the major industry trade show which takes place in mid-May.

The move would make strategic sense for Nintendo, which has sold over 13 million units of the Nintendo DS worldwide in the past year, and is believed to have fairly low levels of stock of the existing hardware in the retail channel in most of its major markets at present.

It also ties in with the company's past behaviour - the GBA SP, a major redesign to the Game Boy Advance hardware, was also pushed into the marketplace early in the new year to capitalise on the low stocks of existing hardware after the holiday season.

Nintendo itself has yet to comment on the rumours, and is unlikely to do so until an official announcement is made in Japan next week.