The Nintendo DSi
is the third iteration of the Nintendo DS
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.
The character "i" in DSi is symbolic of its
two cameras representing an "eye" and also
the subject "I" and its personal
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)
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
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
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.
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".
The system was first released in Japan on
November 1, 2008 for ¥18,900 (tax included;
¥18,000 before tax)
in matte black and matte white.
In Japan, Nintendo had shipped 200,000 DSi
units for its launch.
During its first two days on sale in Japan,
the DSi sold 170,779 units according to
or 171,925 units according to Media Create.
In its first month on sale, the DSi sold
535,379 units in Japan, according to
in comparison to 550,000 DS Lites sold in
its launch month.
In its first two months of availability, the
DSi has sold 1,280,000 units in Japan,
according to Enterbrain.
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
and CAD$199.95 in Canada.
Gaming blog Kotaku reported Nintendo
Australia stating the DSi will be released
in Australia on April 2, 2009 for
In Europe, the handheld will be released on
April 3, 2009 for £149.99.
November 1, 2008
April 2, 2009
April 3, 2009
April 5, 2009
(as of December 28, 2008)
(as of December 31, 2008)
||Nintendo DS Game
Card, Secure Digital card (SD
256 MB internal flash memory
||Wi-Fi (with WPA
and WPA2 support)
||Nintendo DS Lite
The Nintendo DSi is about 12% thinner
(2.6 mm) than the Nintendo DS Lite. The new
handheld has two VGA (0.3 megapixel)
digital cameras; one on the internal hinge
pointed towards the user and the second one
in the outer shell.
It also has larger screens (3.25 inches,
instead of the previous 3 inches) and
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".
Additionally, DS cards can now be swapped
without the system locking up.
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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.
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
Nintendo stated in order to improve the
portability without sacrificing durability,
the front slot for Game Boy Advance (GBA)
cartridges has been removed.
Thus removing the unit's backward
compatibility with GBA Game Paks
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
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,
but DSi compatible flashcards are now being
produced - the first one was created by
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
The WPA and WPA2 support is not backward
compatible with original DS games. Only DSi
services can use WPA.
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.
- CPUs: The main CPU is an ARM
processor clocked at 133MHz.
- RAM: 16 MB of RAM (four times
more than previous models)
- Storage: 256 MB of internal
- Wireless: 802.11 internal
The Nintendo DSi is able to connect to an
online store similar to the Wii Shop
Channel, called the DSi Shop.
Here, using Nintendo Points (previously
known as Wii Points),
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
The applications will either be free, or
cost 200, 500, or 800+ (marked with a
'Premium' tag) Nintendo Points.
The DSi Shop was launched with the DSi
Browser, a web browser available for free