In what is sure to be a nice shot in the arm for the portable game industry, Nintendo said today that the is coming to the U.S. on April 5.
The DSi is an upgraded handheld with two cameras and is the third major version of the DS that has sold more than 90 million units since its launch in 2004. It will sell for $169.99 in blue and black colors.
The upgraded DSi is as much a response to the Apple iPhone as it is a jab at second-place Sony, whose PlayStation Portable has sold more than 40 million units.The DSi launched in Japan in the fall and was a hot seller there.
New features have been named Nintendo DSi Camera, Nintendo DSi Sound and Nintendo DSi Shop. The cameras are positioned so you can shoot something in front of you and shoot yourself at the same time. The new DSi Sound can play music in the high-quality AAC format, and the DSi Shop lets you buy things right from the handheld using the WiFi connection.
These new features should give developers more ways to exploit the DS platform, creatively. You can play your own music while you play a game. Users can control the pitch and speed of recorded voice or music. Games purchased via WiFi, dubbed DSiWare, can be purchased for as little as 200 Wii points, or a couple of bucks.
There are already more than 850 titles on the DS. A new one coming soon, made for the DSi, is Rhythm Heaven, which has sold more than 1.6 million units in Japan.