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It was originally stated that a new system was being developed on November 13, 2003, though no details were announced. On January 20, 2004, however, the system was announced with "Nintendo DS" being its codename - again, with minimal details. Later on, the codename was changed to "Nitro", but changed back when the system was shown at E3 2004; the "Nitro" codename can still be seen in the product codes for all Nintendo DS-related items, such as the system's code itself: "NTR-001". The system shown at E3 was an older version of the system, much blockier and the existing version of the standard system which was shown on July 28, 2004, when the name was officially said to be finalized as "Nintendo DS".
The Nintendo DS was released in North America on November 21, 2004, at US$149.99, with a demo version of the later-released Metroid Prime Hunters bundled. The Japanese release took place two weeks later on December 2, and later in other regions.
The Nintendo DS Lite (ニンテンドーDSライト Nintendō Dīesu Raito) is a redesign of Nintendo's popular handheld gaming console. It improves on the original Nintendo DS in almost every way, and replaced the original upon its release. Nintendo originally announced it on January 26, 2006 before releasing it in Japan over a month later.
The Nintendo DSi (「ニンテンドー DSi」?; Nintendō Dīesuai) is the third version of the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system. It was announced during the Nintendo Conference 2008 on October 2, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan. While it is a part of the DS series of handhelds, it has been stated that the DSi should be considered as a separate console next to the DS Lite and the Wii within the United States. The DSi is somewhat larger in size, but is thinner in depth. It is likely that it is this decrease in size is likely what forced the removal of the Game Boy Advance slot, as the bottom portion of the DSi is roughly 12mm. It introduces several other new features over the Nintendo DS Lite.
The Nintendo DS has twin 3-inch backlit color liquid crystal displays. The lower display is touch sensitive and is operated with a stylus. The upper panel has stereo speakers on either side of the upper display. The lower screen's touch capability is utilized in most games, and many games utilize it as the primary, and sometimes only, method of control, as seen in Phantom Hourglass or Nintendogs.
The stylus is a pen-like object for use with the Nintendo DS and its touch screen. In games most known as Touch Generation Games, the player can play most, if not all, of the game without using any of the system's buttons, but just using the stylus. Nintendo has released several customized styli for specific games, with the styli being made with Mario, Pokemon or Zelda designs.
The system comes with built-in 802.11 wireless capabilities, allowing the system to link with other systems for multiplayer games and applications, such as the system's built-in PictoChat. The wireless also allows the system to connect to the Internet and take advantage of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, Nintendo's online gaming service, allowing for Internet play of many of the Nintendo DS' games.
The system features a microphone which can be used to pick up various sounds for whatever function the game developer chooses to use it for, be it voice-recognition (as seen in Nintendogs), voice chat (as seen in Metroid Prime Hunters), or many other potential applications.
It also features an extra game slot capable of playing Game Boy Advance games. Game Boy and Game Boy Color games are incompatible due to size issues, but the slot is also utilized for certain games that feature extra add-ons such as a Rumble Pak. All of this is run on a single rechargeable lithium ion battery, allowing for up to 10 hours of gameplay on a 3 to 4 hour charge.
Differences between versions
Differences between the DS and DS Lite
- It's roughly 42% smaller, and 21% lighter, while retaining all of its features and screen size.
- As opposed to the original's on-or-off backlight, the DS Lite's backlight is always on, and has four adjustable brightness settings.
- The aesthetics have changed slightly; the system is shinier, the speakers take up less room, and several buttons (and the microphone) have been moved around.
- The stylus has an increased size over the original DS system's.
- Due to the system's decreased physical volume, the Game Boy Advance cartridges protrude from the system. To create a seamless surface, a filler cartridge is included, intended to be placed into the Game Boy Advance slot when no Game Boy Advance game is being played.
Differences Between the DS Lite and the DSi
- It is 12% thinner.
- Game Boy Advance slot removed.
- Contains two 640x480 resolution digital cameras, one on the outside face (3 megapixels) and one facing the user on the inside (0.3 megapixels).
- Improved speakers.
- Larger screens.
- Power switch replaced with a power button, with the added ability to simply reset the system back to the menu by lightly pressing the button.
- Has a new slot for SD cards for storing images and software.
- Built-in 256 MB of flash memory.
- An online shop, much like the Wii Shop Channel, that allows for the downloading of various DSi applications and games, such as a re-worked Brain Age.
- The points used for downloading content are system-unique. Meaning that one cannot transfer points between the Wii and DSi.
- Due to higher power consumption, the battery life is shorted considerably from the DS Lite.
- All DSi-specific software will have regional lockout and will not be compatible on a DS Lite.
- Within the United States, the DSi will not be a replacement for the DS Lite. They will both be sold concurrently for an extended period of time.