It seems as if the Nintendo Wii U may offer more than just a gaming experience on launch, as reports are emerging that the Japanese company is currently building a fully-fledged app store that will host a wide range of applications above and beyond those available on its current Nintendo eShops for Wii and DSi/3DS.

An inside source told The Daily that the new store will contain a "wide variety of apps", which are expected to include content channels and other, more practical software. And some of them will run through the Wii U console onto a big screen, others will be for the touchscreen Wii U Controller.

The Daily also speculates that the 6.2-inch screen of the Controller could be used to access social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, access emails and browse the web; much like a house-bound iPad, in many respects.

It is unknown at present whether Nintendo will continue to use its own credits system for payments, or take on a system like Apple's, with micro-payments made through a subscribed account.

We believe that all will become clear in June 2012, when Nintendo is expected to unveil the final product at games trade exhibition E3. It could even be on sale in the UK by next Christmas.

- Nintendo Wii U pictures and hands-on