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Nintendo Reveals Enhanced DSi Handheld
Nintendo Reveals Enhanced DSi Handheld Exclusive
October 2, 2008 | By Staff

October 2, 2008 | By Staff
More: Console/PC, Exclusive

Nintendo has announced an enhanced version of its DS handheld, the DSi, featuring a camera, music playing abilities, an SD card slot, built-in flash memory, and digital downloads via the new 'Nintendo DS Shop'.

As covered live from a Tokyo press conference by a number of Japanese weblogs and reported on by Wired News, the enhanced version of the DS will launch on November 1st in Japan for 18,900 yen ($180).

It will include the following upgrades compared to the DS Lite:

- dual interior/exterior 640x480 (300,000 pixel) camera included.
- built-in Nintendo DS web browser.
- New 'Nintendo DS Shop', where users can digitally download games at prices ranging from free to 800 Nintendo Points ($8)
- 1000 Nintendo Points will come free with the DSi until mid-2010.
- SD card slot, allowing use of the media for storing music, plus saving photos and other data, including downloadable games.
- two larger screens compared to the DS Lite, increased from 3 inches to 3.25 inches in size.
- the removal of the Game Boy Advance cartridge port.
- the DSi is 12% thinner than even the DS Lite, thanks to engineering improvements.
- WPA/WPA2 support and "improved security features" for WEP

The new handheld will be available in white and black when it launches in Japan this November, and a Japanese-language information page for the handheld is now open.

There is currently no information on launch plans outside the territory - though Nintendo is holding an event in San Francisco on Thursday, where more details on the DSi's Western debut may appear.

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Michiel Hendriks
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But did they fix the crippled WiFi support?

Wyatt Epp
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I'm assuming you mean the lack of WPA. Considering the overall processor spec of the device, I find that somewhat unlikely. Last I heard, development of the homebrew implementation was not proceeding well.

The larger screens are nice and the SD card slot, as long as it supports SDHC, is very welcome. On the flip-side, I am somewhat ambivalent about the removal of the Slot 2-- The potential for expansion peripherals (rumble packs, memory, card slots, accelerometres, etc.) was a compelling reason to keep it, I feel, and may have even contributed to it's (somewhat lacking) sturdiness). The major question I think everyone should be asking, however, is whether they've improved the build quality.

On a related note, I wonder how long this revised design will thwart the homebrewers? (I expect the bounty on this will be rather fast-growing, especially with the reports I've been heard of even professionals using R4s because they're simpler to test with).

I await more details before even a tentative verdict on this revision.

Michiel Hendriks
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Not just the lack of WPA, but also the non encrypted and WEP support is bad. It has problems with a lot of commercial grade access points, it also has problems connecting to hidden networks.

Rayna Anderson
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In other words, nothing innovative.

But removing the GBA slot? How will that affect games that make use of it, like Guitar Hero: On Tour?

Danny Rollitt
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I would like to personally thank Nintendo for denying the DSi's existence right up until recently since I have literally just ordered a DS lite for my birthday after waiting a considerable time. Luckily after reading about the 'improved' features, I am not as bothered as I thought I might well have been as all these features are currently available with the exception of a low-quality camera and legal downloadable games (possibly limited to Japan only) and a slight increase in screen size and slimness are currently available with the current DS lite system in some form or another i.e. web browser, card slot/reader etc. Iím also glad they have ditched the GB Advance compatibility by removing the slot as I have a few Advance games that I would like to use with a DS and as someone else has noted the Guitar Hero hardware and Taitoís Paddle controller would be useless with the current version. I am still slightly disappointed they could not have admitted the rumours earlier though. Iím sure if anything they have possibly killed a few bulk DS lite import suppliers off who will not be happy with this news!

Danny Rollitt
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Following up on that comment the main reason for the introduction I'm sure is due to the competition between Sony and Nintendo on console sales in Japan which is somewhat less fierce in the West as sales are still up high over here. At least they are not removing compatibility with the cartridges for DS lite games by introducing new DSi carts in a total system redesign. The downloadable games reminds me somewhat of the Famicom with it's Family Computer Disk System and more recently Wii's access to some retro games - possibly you will be able to download GBAdvance games (paying for them again), though it won't make up for the loss of hardware use unless they are going to redesign something that slots in the game slot where the game can connect and also hardware still, (doubtful as that would add bulk) and at least there isn't much additional hardware...

Greg Houston
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I hope they make the L and R buttons more robust. Those buttons break so easily. I'd consider buying it just for the bigger screen. The camera will probably get a lot of kids into trouble.

Giuseppe Navarria
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this DS sucks, i'll take a Wiz :)

Roberto Dillon
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the GBA slot was a very interesting element in the DS, both for retro gaming and for future expansions/unique uses like guitar hero on tour showed. It's unfortunate they removed it...

Tom Kammerer
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If this is all Nintendo can do to thwart their new competition I think they will

be disappointed. The new iPod touch is truly next generation handheld gaming. If you look at the quality of the devices, the technology, and just the size of each device the iPod touch is going to reign down upon all handheld consoles beyond belief. 16gb ipod touch and iphone; wow all they can do is make a SD card slot, add the same or even worst of a camera as the iphone and expect to hold up. Microsoft is jumping for joy they did not enter the handheld market. Nintendo and sony should be pulling out all their pockets to compete with this behemoth that has just entered their realm. I would expect more from a company that has been so successful in the past 2 years. With Sony's claim of most powerful handheld technology, I am expecting something big from them to compete with the iphone or iPod touch. If not I expect, someone leaving the field in shame.