Nintendo DS

The new Nintendo DS is out. Even though they’re not marketing it as a Game Boy replacement, this is Nintendo’s next generation portable gaming system. It’s currently selling for $150, which I think is really reasonable considering it’s brand new, and comes with a game. I’ll probably get one eventually. At this point I’ll have to wait for the price to drop, but it’s very tempting. Heck, I’d love to get two so that I could play with Jes. One of the most surprising things about this new little gadget is that it’s packed with so much new technology.

It has two screens instead of one. I guess one can show a regular 3D forward looking view and then the 2nd can show a top-down, map type view. One of the screens (the lower one I think) works as a touch screen. They’ve already figured out some ways to use this in games, but I’d expect to see some new ideas in the future. I think it’s currently used like a laptop touch pad, but it can also be used with a stylus (like a PDA). It has built in wireless networking — both P2P for connecting directly with other players and WiFi for connecting over the Internet. It comes with a built in chat program, and some games are muti-player that use the wireless network. The DS also has a built in microphone. There are rumors that this could be used with the wireless features for making phone calls over the Internet. It’s also backwards compatible with the Game Boy Advanced, so there is a huge catalog of games available for it.

This platform could (if enough people buy into it early) be huge for future applications. Wouldn’t it be great if you could browse the web and send email from it? How about listening to Internet radio stations? I don’t know if it’s possible, but if armature software developers could create their own applications for the DS it could become a breading ground for innovative ideas.