Nintendo has confirmed that the new, slimmed down version of the Nintendo DS will be released in Europe and the US following its launch in Japan on March 2nd, 2006.

Although a specific release date was not announced, Nintendo did say that the DS Lite will make its debut outside of Japan some time after the spring.

The redesigned handheld, which was unveiled earlier this week, will go on sale in Japan for 16,800 yen (118 EURO) in a choice of colours - white, as previously announced, and two more unspecified shades.

Nintendo will continue to produce the original DS, and it will continue to retail for 15,000 yen (105 EURO).

According to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, the company is confident that the DS will continue to sell well as 2006 unfolds. Speaking to the Japanese press, Iwata said: "Taken as a whole with the current version, we're aiming at total domestic sales of 10,000,000 units not too late in the year."

So far more than 13 million Nintendo DS units have been sold worldwide. The handheld has proved most popular in Japan where more than 5 million units havebeen snapped up, compared with 4 million in North America and 3.5 million in Europe.