Finally, Nintendo delivers official word of a redesigned DS that allows you to snap and edit photos, listen to music, and download games.
Nevermind the fact the DS Lite broke sales records last month and continues to move units at a rapid pace, Nintendo announced today it will soon be moving forward with the launch of a newly redesigned DS, dubbed the "Nintendo DSi." While it appears the system will still pack the same graphic and processing capabilities - it's definitely an upgraded model rather than a true successor - the handheld's updated feature set holds some exciting prospects for gaming and non-gaming activities to come.
The DSi will be equipped with a small camera featuring two lenses (one located inside, next to the microphone and another on the outside of the unit) and the ability to edit photos with the touch screen. Images can be saved for export via the new SD memory card slot added to the right side of the handheld next to the stylus holster. The new storage capacity also fits perfectly with the DSi's new music playing capabilities and another promising feature that just might make the upgraded model a must-have. More on that in a moment.
At a glance, the DSi's overall design looks very similar to the DS Lite, but there are some notable differences. The DSi features larger screens (3.25 inches instead of 3 inches), and the GBA cart slot has been removed, allowing for a 12 percent reduction in the handheld's overall size. Battery life seems to have taken a minor hit, but the DSi appears to have five levels of screen brightness instead of the DS Lite's four settings.
While players lose the ability to play GBA titles, the redesign more than makes up for it with the ability to download and play DS games from the new "Nintendo DS Shop" - which is similar to the company's popular WiiWare service. The DSi will come with the system's web browser installed, and players will be able to hit the 'net to purchase and digitally download "Nintendo DS Ware" games directly to the handheld. Using a four-tier pricing scheme, DS Ware titles will be run $2, $5, and $8. Some titles will be free to download as well.
The DSi will be shipping on Nov. 1 in Japan (in black and white color variants) at a price of about $185. Europe will be getting the DSi in spring 2009. Additional information about a planned U.S. release is expected to be announced at Nintendo's press conference later today.