After months of speculation regarding the specifics of Nintendo’s next console, codenamed Project Cafe, we finally have valid proof that a successor to the massively-successful Wii does exist.

Most consoles and handhelds have some sort of working nickname while in development. Wii was infamously called “Revolution.” GameCube was known as “Dolphin” for many months. Nintendo’s next system has the working name “Project Cafe,” but that name was never meant to stick. The true name of Nintendo’s next-generation home entertainment system is Wii U.

The design philosophy that Nintendo adopted in engineering the Wii U is nothing new. It appears to be a sleeker, more modern version of the Wii. But the external aesthetic is nowhere near as important as the hardware the console will be packing, and Nintendo has filled its latest offering to the gills with cutting-edge technology.

Nintendo is teaming up with AMD to develop a graphics chip for its next system, which will essentially be a proprietary version of the R700 architecture. It’s CPU will be coming from IBM. Custom built and sporting three cores, this powerhouse will be unstoppable.

Not sure what any of that means? All you need to know is that with these specifications, the Wii U is significantly more powerful than both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In theory, the system can support 1080p HD output as well as stereoscopic 3D, but as of right now, we do not know if Nintendo plans to aggressively push 3D for its home console.

One of the most interesting aspects of Nintendo’s latest creation is its controller, which will sport a 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen as well as a built-in camera. It will give users tablet-like control of games. The Wii U acts like a base station of sorts, streaming content to each individual controller.

Nintendo was purposefully vague regarding the console’s release date, never giving a solid answer. The company did say that the console will launch in 2012, but that could mean almost anything at this point. Nintendo was also hesitant about pricing this offering, likely because it does not want polarize its potential audience right off the bat.

Now that you know that a touch screen will be integrated into Wii U’s controller, how do you think that Nintendo will get developers to support the additional real estate? Will the hardcore come back to Nintendo with the release of the Wii U? Will it be able to compete with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the long-term? Sound off in the comments below!