Posts Tagged 'ds'

Nintendo DSi

So Nintendo announced the third iteration of the DS this week. Unfortunately, it seems like two or three steps forward and a couple steps back. However, I have a feeling there’s more to the DSi than has been announced as of yet. This is my opinion on the DSi:

Pros:

  • Slightly slimmer, which is kind of nice but the DS Lite is already pretty slim.
  • Bigger screens, although the resolution doesn’t seem to have been upgraded.
  • Internal NVRAM and SD card expandability for downloadable games and content- this is the major improvement in my mind, because it allows the firmware to be upgraded to add new features like other modern consoles and handhelds, although if the Wii is any indication feature additions might not be so forthcoming. Downloadable games are pretty cool to have, and this might be an easily exploited vector for homebrew, depending on how well Nintendo has protected their system- but more on that later.
  • Integrated web browser- this on its own is kind of useful, but the DS had this through homebrew and/or Opera. The more interesting things about this are the implications of a web browser- again, more on that later.
  • Cameras- not that useful to me, but it would be nice to have. The ability to edit photos on the other hand, as well as the webcam-looking one, also have some interesting implications that I’ll speculate on.
  • Matte finish- this is more of an aesthetic thing, but anyone who had a DS Lite, especially the black ones, knows how irritating it is to have something so glossy.

Cons:

  • No GBA slot- this is more annoying for people who had an extensive GBA library, or one of the DS games that use the GBA slot as expansion. Neither of those apply to me, so I don’t care too much.
  • No announced hardware upgrades- this might not be completely accurate, as I’ll speculate on later. But lack of hardware upgrades kind of implies that the real next generation DS is at least two years off, which is fairly annoying.
  • Lower battery life- this is a real WTF, because the projected battery life at highest brightness is a mere 3-4 hours, whereas the DS Lite’s projected life is 5-8 hours on high. This is really frustrating, but I guess you can always just turn the brightness down to get longer life.

The stuff we know about the DSi seems to imply a few things that might not have been announced. This is all speculation on my part, but I’d be surprised if none of these things are true.

  • Since the original Opera browser came with a RAM expansion, and now there’s no GBA slot, I’d be fairly surprised if there wasn’t a RAM upgrade to accommodate the browser. This could have nice implications for games and homebrew as well, and DSLinux might be easier to run. The other alternative is that they use the built in NVRAM as cache like homebrew browsers use SD as cache, but I do remember them saying the new browser would be faster than Opera, and I don’t think it would be possible to do that without the RAM upgrade.
  • The faster browser and the increased connectivity in general could mean that the WiFi chip has been upgraded. The WiFi in the DS/Lite is pretty pathetic, being a cut-down version of 802.11b that works at 2Mbps, and in practice is really slow. Homebrew downloads through DSOrganize’s homebrew database top out around 30kbps, although this might be due to the reverse engineered dswifi libs.
  • This one’s more of a stretch, but image editing might require a beefier processor than that currently in the DS. This might also be the reason the battery life is weaker, although that could also be attributed to the slimming of the case. This would of course be welcome.

I’ll add to this as I think up more wild guesses. Hey, I’m a market analyst!