As with all electronic devices, the Nintendo 3DS went through a prototyping stage. Thing is, the unused prototype unit you see here looks way better than the final, retail design.
Shown off in a new "Iwata Asks" Q&A session on Nintendo's Japanese website, the image on the right is of a 3DS prototype that appears starkly modern and minimal, taking design cues from Apple and Nintendo's own Wii rather than the "make it look like a DS" theme the final design has going for it.
It's a real shame Nintendo didn't go with this. Sure it's pointy, and maybe it didn't even work that well (the developers point out its clean design and small form comes partly from the fact the cameras hadn't been added yet), but a problem the 3DS is going to have to overcome is that its logo and design make it look more like a DS 1.5 than a true successor to Nintendo's dual-screen handheld.
It's not, of course, but looks are important in big business, and that white design looked great.
It was one of two prototypes shown off, the other being this curious "customisable" version of the 3DS, which would let users swap the position of the d-pad and thumbstick, depending on the kind of game they were playing and which felt more comfortable.