The Nintendo DSi is much more than a handheld game player. This latest iteration of the DS includes a wealth of new features, including an SD card slot that enables the storing of files.
Since the launch of the original DS in 2004, the company has shipped more than 100 million of the dual-screen (the bottom one is a touchscreen) devices. The first revision to the hardware was the DS Lite, which hit stores in 2006. Slightly thinner and longer, the DSi is available in blue or black matte for $199.95.
With a Wi-Fi connection, DSi users can browse the new DSi Shop, an on-line store offering downloadable apps and games. One of the free apps is an Opera-based Web browser. After games have been downloaded, they first appear on the menu screen as presents that are “opened” by clicking on them. Nintendo is offering 1,000 free points (about $10) to users who visit the store in the next six months.
What appears important to Nintendo isn’t so much what the hardware is, but what you can do with it. Yes, the DSi has two cameras—one pointing at the player, the other aiming away. Yes, it has sound recording and audio playback functions. But what’s interesting—and exciting—about the DSi is what you can do with photos and sounds. Pictures taken with the low-resolution cameras can be altered with fun-house- mirrorlike filters that turn every portrait into a party. Voices, beat-boxing, and music can be mixed together (though not saved or stored), making DJs of us all.
Anchoring the entire DSi experience is Nintendo’s philosophy of fun: less megapixel, more Mario mustache.