Japanese gaming company Nintendo has released a much needed update to its popular DS console in the form of the DSi, a £149.99 console.
The DSi is an evolution of the DS rather than a complete break from the existing version. The third iteration of the console, which is released more than 5 months after its Japanese debut, introduces a thinner body by one eighth, bigger screens (3.25-inch vs 3-inch).
But it is the addition of two VGA cameras - one on the inside and one on the outside edge - which be of most interest since it converts the device into a fully fledge multimedia platform. Users can use the cameras to take pictures and the onboard image editing software to do a number of simple manipulations on the pictures.
The DSi is also now capable of playing AAC content but surprisingly (and it's a shame) no MP3. They will be able to manipulate audio files through the DSi's own built-in application which has limited abilities and will only be able to record up to 18 ten minutes sound bites.
Finally, customers will be able to buy and download games directly to their portable gaming console via an internet connection (probably through the onboard WiFi). The DSi shop will allow points to be redeemed against content. Each DSi console will also come with 1000 Nintendo points.
The DSi has also adopted a new SD Card slot format which will open the way for the prospects of a new generation of SD-based accessories and peripherals. This is a boon, given the fact that a significant amount of DSi applications are expected available for free and its internal storage will be filled fast.
Nintendo's DSi bears the first signs of the company's willingness to be more than a simple gaming platform.
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More than 100 million DS consoles have been sold until now. But Nintendo has decided not to sleep on its golden laurels. Instead, as Apple's iPod Touch and iPhone devices are turning up to be potential gaming platforms, Nintendo has launched a new platform that it hopes will slow down Apple's march.
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