It’s been rumored for quite a while that a brand-new Nintendo DS revision was en route, and sure enough, that rumor has now been confirmed. The ‘DSi’ becomes the third revision of the popular handheld console, with the first being released in late 2004 and the second in summer 2006 – proof that Nintendo is one of the very few companies that is able to release new versions of the same product and actually have consumers who already own the original consider a purchase.
Though the overall design is the same as the DS Lite, the DSi brings not one, but two 0.3 megapixel cameras to the mix – one on the front and one on the back. The device is not geared towards becoming an all-in-one device, so the lackluster photo resolution is warranted. The DS itself supports a lower than 0.3 megapixel resolution, so face shots for ingame use (or even potential video chats), the camera is perfectly acceptable.
Improved is both the screen size and thickness, although both seem to be pretty minor modifications. Aside from the physical characteristics, Nintendo will also launch a ‘DSi Store’ which wil; allow you to download games and applications via your WiFi connection. Sounds great, but it’s too bad that it’s not being back-ported to the current DS versions. Oh, and if there’s a downside to the the DSi, it might be the omission of the GBA cartridge port. If you don’t play the older Gameboy games though, this should be no big deal.
The other highly touted feature of the Swiss-army knife-like DS is music functionality. The DS now features both an SD slot and an undisclosed amount of internal storage to help support its newly acquired music playback. One unique feature of the unit’s MP3 player is the ability to slow down or speed up tracks via user control. Says Mr. Iwata on this new feature, “We want our customers to individualize their Nintendo DSi .”