Wii browser demo set for Friday

Posted by Mark Raby

Redmond (WA) - Nintendo is giving early adopters of its latest console an early Christmas present, as the gaming company today announced that on Friday, users will be able to download a free trial of the Opera Internet browser specifically created for the Wii.

Opera has said that the browser will take advantage of the Wii's unique control features, like the point-and-click interface with the motion-sensitive remote. The preview version that goes live on Friday will be Flash-enabled, and other Web-based platforms are expected to be supported by the time the final version of the browser is released.

In the previous generation of consoles, when the PS2 and Xbox showed off a significant online presence for the first time in console gaming, many gamers asked for the ability to browse the Internet directly from the Web-enabled system.

The Internet browser is created and operated by Opera, a company without much penetration in the PC Internet market but has a big hold in custom browsers for cell phones and other devices.

The final version of the Wii browser will be available by the end of March 2007, says Nintendo, and will be free for users who download it by the end of June. Afterwards, it will cost 500 Wii points ($5) to download.

Opera is the same name behind the DS browser, which launched in Japan this summer but has yet to be officially announced for the US.