Nintendo of America will launch the Nintendo DSi, its third and newest DS model, in the U.S. on April 5th, priced at $169.99. Unlike the Japanese launch, which introduced the handheld with White and Black versions, the stateside release will offer Blue and Black editions.
The updated portable has a number of new hardware features and improvements, such as a 0.3 megapixel camera on the external body and another camera on the internal hinge, larger screens (3.25" versus 3"), a 12 percent slimmer body, an SD card slot for storage, an additional brightness setting, louder speakers, and more.
With the new changes however, battery life has been reduced, and the system no longer has a GBA slot, which was useful in previous models for several reasons -- playing GBA games, transferring data from GBA carts, playing DS titles with peripherals that require the slot (Guitar Hero DS series), using a Rumble Pak, etc.
On the software side, the Nintendo DSi will include DSi Camera, for image manipulation; DSi Sound, for listening to music on the SD card or recording/adjusting audio; and DSi Shop, an online service allowing users to purchase and download games and applications through the handheld, similar to the Wii Shop Channel.
Nintendo notes that the system will be able to play most previously released Nintendo DS titles, as well as "games made specifically for the system." The company did not reveal whether those DSi-exclusive games would be limited to its DSi Shop or if they would be released at retail.
Nintendo will accompany the DSi's launch with the same-day release of Rhythm Heaven for DS and DSi. The title is a localized version of Rhythm Tengoku Gold, which has gone on to sell over 1.6 million copies in Japan.
Developed by the same internal studio behind the WarioWare series, Rhythm Heaven has players tapping and sliding their stylus on the touch screen in time with catchy music created by prolific Japanese pop-star producer Tsunku.
"Ever since the arrival of the first Game Boy, consumers worldwide have turned to Nintendo for their portable gaming," says Nintendo of America's EVP of sales and marketing Cammie Dunaway.
"Nintendo DSi builds on Nintendo's commitment to bringing fun and creative entertainment to everyone, and will allow consumers to personalize and share their very own experiences."