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04:44 PM

Nintendo Unveils DSi Gaming Portable, But Not For U.S.

The revamped device, which features a built-in Web browser, larger screen, and two integrated cameras, will launch in Japan on Nov. 1.

Nintendo DSi Gaming Platform

Nintendo DSi Gaming Platform
(click for larger image)

Nintendo has introduced the highly anticipated DSi, a revamped version of the popular DS portable gaming device that features a built-in Web browser, larger screen, and two integrated cameras.

In addition, Nintendo plans to launch an online store called the DSi Shop when the new gadget hits store shelves Nov. 1 in Japan, where it will cost about $180, or about $20 more than the DS. Nintendo has not said when the DSi would be available in the United States, but the Nikkei Business Daily reported this week that U.S. models would sell for around $130.

Nintendo chief executive Satoru Iwata launched the DSi Wednesday night U.S. time in a Tokyo news conference. Among the new features is a 3.25-inch screen, compared with the DS's 3-inch screen; and two 0.3 megapixel cameras, one inside of the DSi case and the other on the outside. In addition, the device has a slot for an external SD memory card up to 2 GB, and is thinner and lighter than the DS.

The DSi Shop will sell games and software that users of the device can download over a Wi-Fi connection. The shop bases prices on Nintendo Points. Products cost 0, 200, 500, or 800 points. The DSi comes bundled with 1,000 points, which are good until March 2010.

When Nintendo releases the DSi in the United States, it could prove to be a competitor to Apple's iPod Touch, which is emerging as a gaming platform, and the iPhone 3G. The DSi, like the iPhone and iPod, also plays music and video. The iPod is more expensive with a starting price of $229, but games are cheaper on the Apple product.

The video-game industry in general is heading for a strong year, with sales expected to hit $21 billion to $23 billion, according to the NPD Group. As of May, the industry had surpassed sales for all of 1997.

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