Tokyo (Japan) – Game consoles are not just for gaming anymore. If we look at devices such as the iPhone, which also wants a share of the gigantic mobile gaming market, it is clear that mobile devices will have to become universal entertainment devices with much more functionality of current devices: Nintendo made a huge step into that direction with the unveiling of the new DSi today. The new console merges gaming with some practical applications (web browsing, shopping) and entertainment (camera and image editing).
The new DSi may look like the original DS, but it is a substantial upgrade over the previous generation. The main new features include a larger screen, which has grown from 3” to 3.25” as well as dual-cameras – one on the outside and one on the inside – that should make the DSi more interesting than the DS.
The dual-camera setup should not be considered as a replacement for your cellphone camera or even a snapshot digital camera. Its screen resolution of 640 x 480 is very limited and the picture quality does not quite match the quality of the first consumer digital cameras that offered the same resolution about 12 years ago. Instead, it is a “fun” application that allows users to take simple snapshots and work with those images: There are basic image editing features as well as functions to merge and distort pictures.
There is also a new audio player with distortion functions (the playback speed can de accelerated or decelerated by up to 100%). It is fed by a new SD card slot, which replaces the GBA slot in the DS. The support for SD memory cards not only adds storage capacity to the DS and may enable potentially much more complex games, but also enabled Nintendo to create a thinner device: The DSI is only 18.9 mm thick, compared to the 21.9 mm of the DS.
Other new features include a basic web browser as well as the integration of the DSi shop, which will allow users to purchase content for the DSi based on a points system.
Nintendo will launch the Nintendo DSi in November in Japan for about $180. There was no information when the device will be available in the U.S.