updated 07:40 am EDT, Thu October 29, 2009
DSi LL has larger screen for Internet use
Nintendo quickly confirmed rumors today by unveiling the DSi LL. Its screens have increased by more than an inch to 4.2 inches each and are seen as better for Internet access as well as for gameplay. It also gets a larger, more comfortable second stylus and a battery life that increases from 2.5 hours to three during active gameplay.
The handheld also now has the DSi's web browser already installed and also comes with a dictionary and two Brain Age games. Nintendo ships the LL to Japan on November 21st for the equivalent of $221 in dark brown, white and wine red colors. Plans haven't been detailed for an international launch, though every Nintendo DS model to date has shipped to the US within at most a few months.
Nintendo's addition of the new model comes with news of a steep 34.5 percent year-over-year drop in the company's revenue to the equivalent of $6.07 billion and a 52 percent drop in its net income to $769.25 million, both of which point to not just economic but also competitive problems. Most of the drop is attributed to a sharp drop-off in Wii sales, which fell from 10.1 million last summer to just 5.75 million and helped prompt Nintendo's recent Wii price cut, the first since the system shipped in November 2006. The firm has been bruised both by a lack of major titles outside of its own as well as by PS3 and Xbox 360 price cuts that negated most of the Wii's price advantage.
Simultaneously, however, it has also seen sales for the DS Lite and DSi drop from 13.7 million systems to 11.7 million despite a lower price and more titles to attract new buyers. Nintendo isn't yet known to have explained the decline outside of economic factors but for its last quarter had admitted worries of being hurt by iPod competition, a factor that is believed to have directly contributed to the DSi LL's existence. Apple's device is more expensive on average than any DSi model but has historically had a stronger Internet experience, fuller media playback and lower-cost games.