We’d almost hesitate to call the rumored announcement of the new DS model an obvious one, but it’s definitely no secret that most people were expecting Nintendo to say something about a new handheld during their Japanese conference today. Had you bet money on the announcement beforehand you’d be a tad bit richer now because that’s exactly what happened. Literally within seconds of taking the stage, Satoru Iwata “dropped the bomb” as he is so apt to do, and made the Nintendo DSi a reality.
So far what is known about the system is that it will be 12% smaller than the DS Lite and will do away with the GBA slot altogether. The screens will be getting a bump up in size to 3.25″ each and will presumably retain the DS Lite’s multiple backlight settings. It will include an MP3 playback feature (half-wow), a 3.0 megapixel digital camera (full wow), and the ability to edit your pictures using the touch screen and stylus (double wow!). It will also include an SD card slot (homebrewers rejoice!) and the ability to wirelessly purchase and download full games using “Nintendo Points”. The handheld will include the DS browser software and will allow you to download and run an application called DSWare, much like the Wiiware that everyone is already familiar with. The software will be divided into 4 categories based on how many points they cost: Free, 200, 500, and 800 (also known as “Premium” content).
A release date of November 1st for Japan has been announced, along with the price of 18,900 yen, or roughly $180.00. That price isn’t bad for even a decent digital camera, much less a full handheld game system with photo editing software, digitally downloadable games, and full DS compatibility. The initial release colors will be standard DS white, as well as matte black.