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Nintendo announces another “third pillar” – the DSi

Posted by inpheaux on October 2nd, 2008 at 2:14 am

Last week the Nikkei wire leaked out a report that Nintendo would be announcing a super-huge refresh to the DS on Thursday. Well, it's Thursday, so get ready to be underwhelmed.

The new thing is the "DSi". It's a DS Lite. But slightly smaller, and with slightly bigger screens. Also two cameras (one external, one internal). No more GBA slot, but it has an SD Card slot (SD? MicroSD? SDHC? It is a mystery.), and some unknown quantity of internal memory (512MB IS ENOUGH FOR ANYBODY).

Right now it seems like that's . . uh ... . . it.

There are a few bonus services planned to roll out for it. There'll be a wireless shop . . thing . . to buy . .. .. . things .. with magic Nintendo Electronic Fun-Bux. Exactly what these things will be is still pretty nebulous, but smart money's on it containing some sub-set of Virtual Console games. There's also going to be some manner of syncing capability between the DSi and the Wii Picture Channel that no one has ever used outside of a Nintendo press conference.

Whether or not Nintendo will be joining us over here in 2008 where we use modern wireless encryption schemes like WPA2 is yet to be seen. The Wii can do WPA/WPA2, so there's no reason I can see why they would choose to not update the WiFi capabilities of the DS at this point, but hey it's Nintendo.

We're also not totally certain at this point what the hell Nintendo is thinking by putting an SD card slot right on the device. I mean, I know it's ostensibly there for storing pictures. Ok, sure. But Nintendo has to know that it's going to be cracked wide open, meaning all they will have done is cut out the middle-men when it comes to flashcarts, since you'll removable storage in a standard format built-in.

The DSi is set to release in Japan in a month for about $180. We might see it stateside by December . . . or Nintendo might make us wait until 2009 because they can. Hopefully some of the lingering questions will be answered shortly.

Edit: Oh look, in the time it took me to write this, Nintendo got their official site up for the DSi. Nice big pictures of the device, looks like they added a third LED to split the WiFi and Power/Standby light. Also looks like they made the power switch back into a button.

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