U.S. to get Nintendo DSi on April 5

  • Redmond (WA) – Nintendo today said that it will bring its updated handheld gaming system DSi to the United States on April 5 (see our previous coverage). The third generation of the DS will be available in blue and black and will sell for $170 -- a $40 premium over the current DS Lite model. The extra money will get gamers a larger screens (3.25" instead of 3") a slimmer form factor (18.9 mm, compared to the 21.9 mm of the DS Lite) as well as features such as an audio player and an SD card slot, which replaces the GBA slot of the DS.

    The most noticeable feature of the slim Nintendo DSi system is its two cameras. One camera is on the external body while the second one points at the user when the device is flipped open. While the camera set up is promised to enable gamers not only to interact with other gamers, it is also meant to introduce new applications -- such as photo sharing.

    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.

    Nintendo also added a new store application, DSiWare, that will allow users to download software using DSi Points to the portable system. DSi Ware games will be available with prices starting at 200 points, the equivalent of $20. Nintendo promises that there will be a game library of 850 games available at start. The launch title of the DSi will be Rhythm Heaven, which has sold 1.6 million copies since its July 2008 launch in Japan.