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Nintendo DSi Console

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Nintendo DSi

The Nintendo DSi is the third iteration of the Nintendo DS handheld[8] released by Nintendo in Japan on November 1, 2008 and Australia, Europe, and North America April 2009.

The handheld was first announced during the Nintendo Conference on October 2, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan.[10] The character "i" in DSi is symbolic of its two cameras representing an "eye" and also the subject "I" and its personal individuality.[11]


The handheld was conceived at the end of 2006, as the Wii began to ship. Kentaro Mita from the Engineering Department began development on the DSi project per instructions from his supervisor. It is the third iteration of the Nintendo DS handheld whose development was on a short schedule. One of the first major features added to the DSi that separated the handheld from its past iterations was the cameras.

Nintendo DSi Launch Video (US Version)

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When working on the DSi, Kentaro Mita said one of the difficulties involved how to market the handheld, since it was based on and meant as a supplement to previously existing hardware. "We have to be able to sell the console on its own. It also has to be able to meld into the already-existing DS market."[12]

The original concept of the DSi consisted of the device to have two slots for DS games due to demand in-house and by fan requests. This caused the device to be approximately 3 mm thicker than the final version. The designs were unveiled within the company in October 2007. Kuwahara said "The response wasn’t that great, and, to tell the truth, we’d sort of been expecting that". This led to the removal of the extra slot to make the final product slimmer.[12]

A Nintendo representative said the company "hope[s] that the Nintendo DSi becomes more than a game system and more of a personal tool to enrich our daily lives".[11]


The system was first released in Japan on November 1, 2008 for ¥18,900 (tax included; ¥18,000 before tax)[13] in matte black and matte white.[8] In Japan, Nintendo had shipped 200,000 DSi units for its launch.[14][15] During its first two days on sale in Japan, the DSi sold 170,779 units according to Enterbrain;[16][17] or 171,925 units according to Media Create.[18][19] In its first month on sale, the DSi sold 535,379 units in Japan, according to Enterbrain;[20] in comparison to 550,000 DS Lites sold in its launch month.[21] In its first two months of availability, the DSi has sold 1,280,000 units in Japan, according to Enterbrain.[5]

The DSi will be released in North America on April 5, 2009 and will be available in matte black and matte blue, for US$169.99 in the United States[4] and CAD$199.95 in Canada.[22] Gaming blog Kotaku reported Nintendo Australia stating the DSi will be released in Australia on April 2, 2009 for AUD$299.95.[23] In Europe, the handheld will be released on April 3, 2009 for £149.99.[3]

Manufacturer Nintendo
Product family Nintendo DS
Type Handheld game console
Generation Seventh generation era
Retail availability JP November 1, 2008[1]
AUS April 2, 2009[2]
EU April 3, 2009[3]
NA April 5, 2009[4]
Units sold 1.28 million (as of December 28, 2008)[5]
Units shipped 1.66 million (as of December 31, 2008)[6]
Media Nintendo DS Game Card, Secure Digital card (SD card)
CPU 133MHz ARM processor
Storage capacity Cartridge save
256 MB internal flash memory
SD card
Connectivity Wi-Fi (with WPA and WPA2 support)[7]
Online services Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
DSi Shop
Nintendo Zone[8]
Predecessor Nintendo DS Lite (concurrent)


The Nintendo DSi is about 12% thinner (2.6 mm) than the Nintendo DS Lite. The new handheld has two VGA (0.3 megapixel)[24] digital cameras; one on the internal hinge pointed towards the user and the second one in the outer shell.[25][26][27] It also has larger screens (3.25 inches, instead of the previous 3 inches) and improved speakers.[8] The power switch has been replaced with a power button, as the original DS had, now located next to the bottom left side of the touchscreen. For DS software its power button also serves as a reset button, for DSi software, Kentaro Mita stated "you can move around, return to the menu, or play a different game, without shutting down the power every time".[12] Additionally, DS cards can now be swapped without the system locking up.[28]

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The DSi has five brightness settings compared to the DS Lite's four; however, battery life is reduced to 9-14 hours on the lowest brightness setting compared to the 15-19 hours of its predecessor.[29]

A new SD card slot is used for external storage of pictures and downloaded software and to play AAC audio. Photos taken using the DSi can be synced to the Wii's Photo Channel.[8]

Nintendo stated in order to improve the portability without sacrificing durability, the front slot for Game Boy Advance (GBA) cartridges has been removed.[8] Thus removing the unit's backward compatibility with GBA Game Paks[30] and its compatibility with accessories that require the GBA slot, such as the Nintendo DS Rumble Pak; as well as the Guitar Hero: On Tour and Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades grip, which is required for those games.[31]

Similar to its competitor, the PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo's own Wii console, the DSi has upgradable firmware; a first for a Nintendo handheld system. All existing homebrew flash cards for the Nintendo DS and DS Lite are incompatible with the DSi,[32] but DSi compatible flashcards are now being produced - the first one was created by Acekard.[33]

Nintendo has reported that the DSi uses region locking for DSi-specific software, since the handheld provides Internet services tailored individually for each region and it uses rating-based parental controls, which differ by country. However, certain elements are region-free; Internet browsing, photo sharing and Nintendo DS software.[34] The WPA and WPA2 support is not backward compatible with original DS games. Only DSi services can use WPA.[35]

Technical specifications

Nintendo has released few technical details regarding the DSi system. Nintendo has also improved some of the DSi's hardware (compared to the DS Lite), such as the main CPU and the RAM.[36][37]

  • CPUs: The main CPU is an ARM processor clocked at 133MHz.[38][39]
  • RAM: 16 MB of RAM (four times more than previous models)[37]
  • Storage: 256 MB of internal Flash memory[40]
  • Wireless: 802.11 internal wireless connectivity[41]

DSi Shop

The Nintendo DSi is able to connect to an online store similar to the Wii Shop Channel, called the DSi Shop.[40] Here, using Nintendo Points (previously known as Wii Points),[42] users will be able to download DSiWare games and applications to the internal memory or the SD card of the user's DSi system. Each DSi that accesses the DSi Shop prior to March 2010 will receive 1,000 Nintendo Points.[43] The applications will either be free, or cost 200, 500, or 800+ (marked with a 'Premium' tag) Nintendo Points.[8]

The DSi Shop was launched with the DSi Browser, a web browser available for free download.[8][40]

References and Notes

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