Today Nintendo introduced the newest member of the Nintendo DS family of products, Nintendo DSi. The DSi is the third version of the Nintendo DS handheld and is set for release later this year in Japan.
This new, svelte dual-screen portable (pictured below) was announced at a Nintendo Co. Ltd. press event. The DSi is slated to launch in Europe in the spring of 2009. To watch the English-language webcast of the event, check back soon for a link to the Nintendo of Japan website. Nintendo of Europe will also publish translated excerpts from the event in this space at a later time.
The following is an abridged excerpt from the presentation given by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. This section of his presentation deals mostly with the new features of DSi:
As the first topic for today, let me introduce you to the newest member of the Nintendo DS family
: Nintendo DSi. The Nintendo DSi is the third model
of the Nintendo DS platform, following Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS Lite, and we have developed Nintendo DSi with the aim to further expand the Nintendo DS audience.
For Nintendo DSi, we have added a number of new functions
. Also, we have listened to our customers and made some enhancements to existing DS functions.
First of all, so we can further improve the portable aspect of the DS, we were challenged to make it as thin as possible without sacrificing its durability
. As a result, DSi is 2.6mm or about 12% thinner
than DS Lite. As a consequence of this effort, we have decided to remove the slot for GameBoy Advance software
Next, we have tried to comply with the requests for bigger screens
. Because of the fact that the weight of LCD increases in proportion to its dimensions, we were challenged to adopt larger LCDs but maintain the light weight of Nintendo DS Lite. As the result, we have made an 8% increase over the current 3-inch LCD to make it 3.25-inches
. This is approximately a 17% increase in visual area per screen
. We have also improved both the speaker volume and sound quality
As for the new features
, we have incorporated a camera and an audio player function
. You might share the impression that since many of today’s mobile phones already incorporate similar camera and audio player functions, this news many not seem to play any significant role in further expanding DS.
Whilst these functions for mobile phones are offered as extra utility tools, we would like to propose with DSi the entertainment value of playing with and enjoying visuals and sounds by using these functions in more proactive and fun ways in your daily activities.
For mobile phones and digital cameras, manufacturers have been increasing the number of pixels in order to appeal to the consumers. However, we have taken almost the opposite approach. We cannot boast about the resolution, as the camera for DSi has a 0.3 megapixel resolution
On the other hand, the DSi Camera software includes 11 types of special camera lenses
. This means DSi can take pictures by utilizing a variety of special effects on a real-time basis
. You can change the whole picture to black and white, colour the portions you touch or exchange the existing colour with a new one on the area you touch, make a composite picture using preinstalled frames or make the frames for yourselves, draw a variety of graffiti on the pictures, use the technology to recognize human faces and put glasses and moustaches on them, combine two people’s faces with different portions of one’s features, and confirm to what degree two faces are resembling by utilizing the face-recognition engine
. These functions can be enjoyed with the unique Nintendo user interfaces that you are familiar with.
Another new function, the DSi Sound audio player
, is not meant to be an ordinary audio playback mechanism. We have designed it so that people can enjoy playing with sounds.
Some typical functions include the ability to change the pitch and the speed separately by using the Touch Screen. The ability to freely manipulate the audio pitch and the speed can expand how the audio player can be used in more practical ways as well. You can fast-forward a Podcast to economize the time. When you use the repeat-run function with the stylus, it becomes easier to copy the music, to play a musical instrument or to practice foreign languages.
Also, since Nintendo DSi has a microphone, we are incorporating the DSi Sound function to make use of it. I believe Nintendo DSi can be viewed as a toy with music that also can be play with. I’m sure some of us will enjoy using DSi Sound to create a fun performance during a party.
An SD memory card
can be inserted into DSi, and it can be used for both the camera and audio player functions. To make use of Nintendo DSi Sound, you will need to store sound data in the AAC format on an SD card. As for the Nintendo DSi Camera, if you have stored its pictures on an SD memory card, you can view them on Wii by using its Wii Photo Channel.
Nintendo DSi has internal memory
, just like Wii. After storing the data there, you can choose to activate this data from the menu screen. The DSi Camera and the DSi Sound will be included in this internal memory of each DSi.
To make it truly ‘your own DS’, you can download and store new software through DSi Shop
. This is similar to the Wii Shop Channel mechanism. With these functionalities, DSi owners will be able to download the software they would like to enjoy and carry around with them on their own DSi.
As the very first software title to be offered through DSi Shop, Nintendo will start distributing the DSi Browser free of charge simultaneously with the launch of DSi
. The DSi Browser is an Internet browser, co-developed by Opera and Nintendo and comprehensively tuned exclusively for Nintendo DSi. This tuning made the browser faster, and now that it can be incorporated into the device, the utility aspect has been significantly enhanced.
Furthermore, when we enabled faster communications for the DSi Browser and DSi Shop, we also achieved faster Wi-Fi communications
for Nintendo DSi. When you use the Wi-Fi function of existing Nintendo DS software, the speed does not increase. However, for software specifically made for Nintendo DSi, it is possible to realise faster communications.
As the second software to be downloaded free of charge through the DSi Shop, Moving Notepad
will launch this year. Moving Notepade enables users to create hand-written memos. Of course, I am not talking about an ordinary notepad. For example, you can create cut-off animations, and this cut-off animation can talk. You create this ‘talking cut-off animation’ by utilising the microphone to record voices.
For some people like me, we will enjoy using the camera to create pictures. So even if we cannot draw pictures, we can still create unique movie works. We are also planning to provide the framework so you can exchange your cut-off animations with your friends.
And, at the end of this year, we will begin offering the download sales service of Nintendo DSiWare through DSi Shop. The Nintendo DSiWare can be categorized into roughly 4 categories: Other than DSi Browser and Moving Notepad and other software that Nintendo offers free of charge, there will be DSiWare200 that you can purchase for 200 Points, DSiWare500 for 500 Points and DSiWarePremium that requires 800 Points or more. For DSiWare200, we are planning to offer very compact utility types of applications and small games, and for DSiWare500, simple puzzle games and other, more sophisticated utility applications.
By now, we have established Nintendo DS Stations in approximately 1000 retail outlets in Japan. As the second step in establishing these Wi-Fi connection points, we will start a new service called Nintendo Zone.
Nintendo DSi will launch in two colours: Matte White and Matte Black. The suggested retail price of Nintendo DSi is 18,900yen. We will launch it on 1st November, 2008 in Japan. As for the non-Japanese markets, this new product will be launched in 2009 and details shall be announced by local markets later.