Nintendo DSi

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Nintendo DSi
Logo of the Nintendo DSi
Nintendo DSi
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 2.02 million (as of March 20, 2009)[5]
Units shipped 1.66 million (as of December 31, 2008)[6]
Media Nintendo DS Game Card, Secure Digital card (SD card), Secure Digital High Capacity card (SDHC card)[7]
CPU 133 MHz ARM processor
Storage capacity Cartridge save
256 MB internal flash memory
SD/SDHC card[7]
Connectivity Wi-Fi (with WPA and WPA2 support)[8]
Online services Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
DSi Shop
Nintendo Zone[9]
Predecessor Nintendo DS Lite (concurrent)

The Nintendo DSi (ニンテンドーDSi Nintendō Dīesuai?)[10] is the third iteration of the Nintendo DS handheld developed and manufactured by Nintendo.[9] The handheld was unveiled on October 2, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan during the Nintendo Conference.[11] It was released in Japan on November 1, 2008, Australia on April 2, 2009, Europe on April 3, 2009 and North America on April 5, 2009.

This iteration retain many attributes such as having a clamshell design with two LCD screens inside—with the bottom one being a touchscreen—and adds new features.[12] The character "i" in DSi is symbolic of its two cameras representing an "eye" and also the subject "I" and its personal individuality.[13] The console's official slogan in North America is "What will you and i do?".[14]



The Nintendo DSi was conceived at the end of 2006, as the Wii began to ship. Masato Kuwahara 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 were the two cameras. When working on the DSi, Masato Kuwahara 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."[15]

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 which was shown at Nintendo's fall press conference in the following year.[11][15]


The console was first released in Japan on November 1, 2008 for ¥18,900 (tax included; ¥18,000 before tax)[16] in matte black and matte white.[9] In Japan, Nintendo had shipped 200,000 DSi units for its launch.[17][18] During its first two days on sale in Japan, the DSi sold 170,779 units according to Enterbrain;[19][20] or 171,925 units according to Media Create.[21][22] In its first month on sale, the DSi sold 535,379 units in Japan, according to Enterbrain;[23] in comparison to 550,000 DS Lites sold in its launch month.[24] In its first two months of availability, the DSi has sold 1,280,000 units in Japan, according to Enterbrain.[25]

The DSi was released in Australia and New Zealand on April 2, 2009 for AUD$299.95/NZD$375 and in Europe on the following day for £149.99 in matte black and matte white.[2][3] It was released in the United States and Canada on April 5, 2009 alongside the game Rhythm Heaven. The unit will be available in matte black and matte blue, for US$169.99[4] and CAD$199.95.[26]


Nintendo launched the Nintendo DS in 2004 to target a wider demographic and the DSi is meant to further expand its market.[11] 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".[13]


The DSi when closed, showing its second camera

The Nintendo DSi retains most of the features included in the previous DS iterations. The unit has improved speakers and its two screens are larger measuring at 3.25 inches instead of the previous 3 inches.[9][27] It also has a similar appearance, Yui Ehara, the designer of DSi's outer shell, pushed for the speaker apertures to be altered to make consumers see more of a distinction between the DSi and its predecessors. Ehara also pushed for this alteration due to the redundancy of circular perforations on its shell and since the change can be noticeable while keeping the unit neat. Yui Ehara wanted to keep the unit "neat" and "simple" with its new features.[15] The DSi is 74.9 mm high × 137 mm wide × 18.9 mm thick when closed, which is about 12% thinner (2.6 mm) than the Nintendo DS Lite, but slightly longer.[9][28] The DSi has a matte surface to prevent fingerprints from showing up, as opposed to the glossier finish the DS Lite has. The power switch has been replaced with a power button, as the original DS had, but provides extra functions and is located next to the bottom left side of the touchscreen.[15]

The handheld has two VGA (0.3 megapixel) digital cameras; one on the internal hinge pointed towards the user and the other in the outer shell.[27] The DSi is currently available in six colors. Only the matte black model is available in all regions. Japan received pink, lime green and metallic blue colors on March 20, 2009.[29] 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.[30] The unit uses a 840mAh internal rechargeable battery compared to 1000mAh for the DS Lite[31] and it can be replaced by the user at the end of its useful life of approximately five hundred charge/discharge cycles.[32]

Technical specifications

Nintendo has released few technical details regarding the DSi system. The company has improved some of the DSi's hardware (compared to the DS Lite), such as the main CPU and the RAM.[33] They stated that to improve portability without sacrificing durability, the front slot for Game Boy Advance (GBA) cartridges has been removed.[9] As a result, the unit has lost its backward compatibility with GBA Game Paks[34] 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 to play those games.[35] Also, the CPU was relocated and the battery housing was raised to cut down on unused space.[15]

  • CPUs: The main CPU is an ARM processor clocked at 133 MHz.[36][37]
  • RAM: 16 MB of RAM (four times more than previous models)[38]
  • Storage: 256 MB of internal Flash memory[39] with an SD/SDHC card expansion slot[7]
  • Wireless: 802.11 internal wireless connectivity[40]


A distinguishing aspect of this DS is its multimedia capabilities. An SD card slot hides behind the cover on the right-side of the handheld. The SD card can be used for external storage of pictures, downloaded software and to play AAC audio.[41] The built-in audio player feature called "Nintendo DSi Sound" serves as a voice recorder and music player of AAC audio, but does not support MP3s. This player lets users adjust pitch, playback and add filters when the aforementioned audio is playing. Audio can also be listened to while the device is closed.[4] The audio player lets users save and modify up to eighteen ten-second sound clips from voice recordings done via DSi's internal microphone then apply them to songs.[31] Another built-in software is called "Nintendo DSi Camera" that lets users modify photos with several options.[42] Live feeds from the DSi camera, photos taken from it and pictures imported from an SD card can be manipulated.[43] Photos taken using the DSi can be synced to the Wii's Photo Channel.[9]

For DS software its power button also serves as a soft reset to return to the main menu. While for DSi software, Kentaro Mita who is responsible for relaying ideas from the company to the team commented "you can move around, return to the menu, or play a different game, without shutting down the power every time".[15] Once at the main menu, DS cards can be hotswapped.[44]

Nintendo is planning to release "enhanced game cards" that can operate on the DSi and previous console versions, and will also offer exclusive features for the DSi.[45] 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,[27] but cards that can run DS software on a DSi are now being attempted – the first one was created by Acekard.[46]

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.[47] The original DS and DS Lite did not support the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) encryption for wireless networks.[48] The DSi supports WPA, but WPA and WPA2 support is not available with original DS games.[49]

DSi Shop

The Nintendo DSi is able to connect to an online store called the DSi Shop.[39] Here, using Nintendo Points (previously known as Wii Points),[50] 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.[51] The applications will either be free, or cost 200, 500, or 800+ (marked with a 'Premium' tag) Nintendo Points.[9]

The DSi Shop was launched with the DSi Browser, a web browser available for free download.[9][39]


  1. ^ Klepek, Patrick (2008-10-02). "New Nintendo DSi Won't Be Sold In U.S. Until 'Well Into 2009'". MTV. Retrieved on 2008-10-03. 
  2. ^ a b "Latest News, Nintendo DSi is Coming…". Nintendo Australia. 2009-02-19. Retrieved on 2009-02-27. 
  3. ^ a b Michael French (2009-02-19). "Nintendo DSi hits Europe on April 3rd, priced £149.99". Market for Home Computing and Video Games. Retrieved on 2009-02-25. 
  4. ^ a b c "Nintendo DSi launches April 5 in the United States". Nintendo. 2009-02-18. Retrieved on 2009-02-18. 
  5. ^ Ben Parfitt (2008-12-02). "Japan: DSi sales pass 2m". Market for Home Computing and Video Games. Retrieved on 2009-03-24. 
  6. ^ "Consolidated Sales Transition by Region" (PDF). Nintendo. 2009-01-29. Retrieved on 2008-10-31. 
  7. ^ a b c Nintendo (2009), p. 17.
  8. ^ "任天堂、新型ゲーム機「ニンテンドーDSi」を発表−SDカード対応で音楽再生可能。カメラも搭載" (in Japanese). AV Watch. 2008-10-02. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Nintendo introduces DSi". Nintendo of Europe. 2008-10-02. Retrieved on 2008-11-23. 
  10. ^ "ニンテンドーDSi" (in Japanese). Nintendo of Japan. Retrieved on 2008-10-06. 
  11. ^ a b c Satoru Iwata (2008-10-02). "Nintendo Conference Fall 2008". Nintendo. p. 1. Retrieved on 2008-11-23. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Adam Hartley (2009). "What does the 'i' in iPod and DSi mean?". Techradar. Future plc. Retrieved on 2009-02-25. 
  14. ^ "Nintendo DSi official website". Retrieved on 2008-03-02. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Kuwahara, Masato, Yui Ehara & Kentaro Mita. Interview with Satoru Iwata. Nintendo DSi (Volume 1 — Hardware) (Transcript). Iwata Asks. Retrieved on 2009-02-21.
  16. ^ "Add video and audio features - with the camera! The new 2008 DSi of the Nintendo DS on November 1!". Famitsu. 2008-10-02. Retrieved on 2008-10-03. 
  17. ^ Kiyoshi Takenaka, Hugh Lawson (2008-10-31). "Nintendo sees overseas DSi launch by next summer". Reuters. Retrieved on 2008-11-03. 
  18. ^ David Jenkins (2008-10-31). "Iwata: DSi Western Launch Before Autumn 2009". Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2008-11-03. 
  19. ^ Iaquinta, Chris (2008-11-05). "Japanese Nintendo DSi Sales". IGN. Retrieved on 2008-11-07. 
  20. ^ David Radd (2008-11-05). "DSi Sells Out in Japan in Four Days". GameDaily. AOL. Retrieved on 2008-11-07. 
  21. ^ Rob Crossley (2008-11-07). "PS3 Outsells All Home Consoles in Japan". Edge. Retrieved on 2008-11-07. 
  22. ^ David Radd (2008-11-06). "GTA IV Tops Japanese Sales Charts". GameDaily. AOL. Retrieved on 2008-11-07. 
  23. ^ Tom Magrino (2008-12-02). "DSi sales surpass 535K in Japan". GameSpot. Retrieved on 2008-12-07. 
  24. ^ Ben Parfitt (2008-12-02). "Japan: DSi sells half a million". Market for Home Computing and Video Games. Retrieved on 2008-12-07. 
  25. ^ "Japanese 2008 Market Report". Market for Home Computing and Video Games. 2009-01-09. Retrieved on 2009-01-15. 
  26. ^ Paul Chapman (2009-02-18), "New Nintendo machine coming soon", The Province, 
  27. ^ a b c Joe Martin (2009-03-17). "Nintendo DSi Review". written at United Kingdom. Dennis Publishing. p. 2. Retrieved on 2009-03-20. 
  28. ^ Nintendo (2009), p. 111.
  29. ^ Rob Crossley (2009-02-25). "Nintendo Reveals 3 New DSi Colours". Edge (magazine). Retrieved on 2009-02-25. 
  30. ^ Brian Ashcraft (2008-10-02). "Let's Compare The DS Lite and the DSi". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved on 2008-10-07. 
  31. ^ a b James Yu (2008-11-13). "Hands On: Nintendo DSi". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. p. 2. Retrieved on 2009-02-29. 
  32. ^ Nintendo (2009), p. 13.
  33. ^ Bakalar, Jeff (2009-02-20). "Gaming preview: Who should buy the Nintendo DSi and who shouldn't". CNET. Retrieved on 2009-03-18. 
  34. ^ "ニンテンドーDSi" (in Japanese). Nintendo. Retrieved on 2009-02-23. 
  35. ^ Harris, Craig (2008-10-17). "DSi: Bye Bye GBA Slot". IGN. pp. 1, 2, 4. Retrieved on 2009-02-22. 
  36. ^ "(DSi Teardown) 2 Printed Boards Firmly Fixed in Chassis (Part 2)". Tech-On. 2008-11-12. Retrieved on 2009-03-18. 
  37. ^ Segan, Sascha (2009-01-10). "Opera May Develop Browser For Palm Pre's WebOS". PC,2817,2338736,00.asp. Retrieved on 2009-02-10. 
  38. ^ Joe Martin (2009-03-17). "Nintendo DSi Review". written at United Kingdom. Dennis Publishing. p. 1. Retrieved on 2009-03-20. 
  39. ^ a b c Gantayat, Anoop (2008-11-01). "DSi Versus The Internet". IGN. Retrieved on 2009-02-22. 
  40. ^ "Nintendo DSi (black) specs and Console specifications". CNET Networks. Retrieved on 2009-03-18. 
  41. ^ James Yu (2008-11-13). "Hands On: Nintendo DSi". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. p. 1. Retrieved on 2009-02-29. 
  42. ^ James Yu (2008-11-13). "Hands On: Nintendo DSi". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. p. 3. Retrieved on 2009-02-29. 
  43. ^ Harris, Craig (2008-11-05). "IGN: Nintendo DSi Hands-on". IGN. p. 2. Retrieved on 2009-03-18. 
  44. ^ "Ten Things You Didn’t Know About DSi". IGN. Retrieved on 2009-03-24. 
  45. ^ "Nintendo Plans "Nintendo DSi Enhanced" Game Cards With DSi-Only Features". Kotaku. 2009. Retrieved on 2009-03-25. 
  46. ^ Chistopher Dring (2008-12-04). "Hackers crack the DS". Market for Home Computing and Video Games. Retrieved on 2009-02-25. 
  47. ^ Bramwell, Tom (2008-10-06). "Nintendo DSi software region-locked". Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2009-02-25. 
  48. ^ "Nintendo - Customer Service". Retrieved on 2009-03-24. 
  49. ^ Hollister, Sean (2008-10-15). "Iwata: DSi’s WPA Security Not Backwards Compatible". GameCyte. Retrieved on 2009-03-18. 
  50. ^ Satoru Iwata (2008-10-02). "Nintendo Conference Fall 2008". Nintendo. p. 3. Retrieved on 2008-11-23. 
  51. ^ Satoru Iwata (2008-10-02). "Nintendo Conference Fall 2008". Nintendo. p. 4. Retrieved on 2008-11-23. 


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