Nintendo Announces New DS, Featuring iPod-Like Touches, Cameras And Bigger Screens

DSi will be released in Japan next month, but won't arrive anywhere else until 2009.

Confirming a report issued by a Japanese newspaper over the weekend, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata revealed Thursday morning (October 2) at a press conference in Tokyo that a new iteration of the DS is on its way.

Called the DSi and slated for release in Japan next month, the updated portable device comes with a number of upgrades but does not alter the core DS game-playing processors. The unit is a revision of the DS, not a brand-new, more powerful DS2. The look is similar to the already released DS Lite, but the DSi sports several multimedia features for photos and music.

Nintendo has fitted the DSi with two 0.3 megapixel (capable of 640 x 480 resolution shots) cameras, one on the outside and one between the dual screens. Users will be able to edit photos using the touch screen, and a newly added SD memory-card slot means that DSi owners can pull the card out and look at them on your TV with the Wii’s Photo Channel.

The DS screens have received an update, as well. Both screens have been made slightly larger, measuring 3.25 inches diagonally, versus DS Lite’s 3 inches. The device’s touch functionality appears to have been left alone and remains on just one screen.

Perhaps as a response to the growing popularity of the iPhone and iPod touch, DSi also incorporates the ability to play MP3s. Users can tap the touch screen to modify the pitch and playback speed of a song.

DSi also takes a hint from its big brother, Wii, and includes both a built-in Web browser and the Nintendo DS Store. Nintendo will be selling Nintendo DS Ware on the store, not unlike the WiiWare service launched on Wii earlier this year. There is no word yet on what software will be on the store, but Nintendo has issued possible price-points, which start at free and go up to several dollars.

If you’re a Game Boy Advance fan, take note: Nintendo has removed the GBA cartridge slot from the DSi. However, the DS Store does open the possibility for Nintendo to sell those now-incompatible games to users.

Nintendo said the DSi will be available on November 1 in Japan for 18,900 yen (roughly $180). The rest of the world won’t see the DSi until 2009. Nintendo of Europe has announced the device for a spring 2009 release. Nintendo of America has said nothing about DSi yet, but is holding a two-day press event in San Francisco starting Friday. MTV News will be there with the latest on DSi and other breaking Nintendo news.

At the Tokyo event, Iwata also announced several new DS and Wii games, including a third “Mario & Luigi” role-playing game for the DS and a new “Punch-Out” for the Wii.

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