The gaming titan also clarified that the Switch is a brand new platform and not a direct successor to either the Wii U or the 3DS. According to a Reddit thread, someone asked a representative during the Nintendo Investor Relations' Q&A if the console is replacing the 3DS. The rep reportedly answered that the company is still considering releasing a separate 3DS successor at a later date.*
Nintendo might have been merely trying to cover all the bases. By saying the Switch is not a direct 3DS successor, the company can release one without losing face if the hybrid ends up flopping like the Wii U. But it could also be seriously considering a new standalone handheld console, which is fantastic news for those immune to the hybrid's charms.
*Update: This article stated earlier that the rep said Nintendo has plans to release a 3DS successor. However, Engadget's Japan Editor (Mat Smith) said his answer's exact translation is "We're still considering a separate successor to the 3DS." We can't confirm the identity of Reddit's source, however, and Nintendo still hasn't gotten back to us with more details about the console, so take this with a grain of salt.