My guess is something basically along the lines of the Wii U controller, but far thinner/more portable. Something overall that's probably around the same overall size of an iPad mini, but a bit thicker to make it more comfortable to hold for gaming.
6-7 inch multitouch "gaming tablet" 1280x720 resolution display, same button layout as Wii U, 2x the Vita in horsepower, 2GB RAM (1GB for OS), stylus support, maybe compatibility with certain Android apps but only accessible through Nintendo's store (similar to what Amazon does with the Kindle). $199-$250 launch price, no more than that.
Can run HD versions of 3DS games with ease, and even some Wii U engines allowing for a lot of cross porting.
Will be huge in Japan, in US/Euro will be more of a kids/entry level tablet relative to what Apple is doing. Will enable Nintendo to double/triple+ sales of certain Wii U projects by allowing for ports.
I'm guessing this would be their next portable system? How would that be integrated into their next home console? I do like that cross platform feature you're talking about though.
Yes portable. Though I suppose if say the SoC design is "stackable" (like say an ARM based system, which would seem likely) ... they could also make a home TV "dock" that maybe can run games at 1080P for home play for an additional $100 or something I guess.
I've seen a lot of talk about docking stations lately. I'm not sure if that's a smart move or not... There is a distinct difference between portable games and home console games - and I'm not talking about graphics. Portable games are meant to be played in short bursts, while you can game a whole day if you wanted to on your home console. How would they go about that problem?
I kinda feel like this issue is overblown a little bit.
Not everyone really plays games the same way. Some people play in short bursts, sure but many people play for long periods of time. In Japan many people basically use the 3DS as their main console around the house for example. Games like Mario 3D World or DKC: TF or Mario Kart 8 would play just fine in short bursts too, most of Nintendo's games do.
The autosleep/quick start function of handhelds I feel let you play at whatever pace you want as a gamer. Like Final Fantasy VII sure as heck wasn't designed for a handheld, but I have no problem enjoying it on my Vita as a PSN Classic.
Zelda: OoT or Mario 64 certainly weren't designed for a handheld either, but they are still perfectly enjoyable on a 3DS or DS.