We build JavaScript applications

Nintendo DSi to include Opera web browser

As soon as Nintendo announced the next version of the hugely popular Nintendo DS gaming console, called the Nintendo DSi, I was curious if along with some hardware upgrades, such as 2 cameras, better screens and a SD card slot, there would be major changes to the OS and software included, especially if a decent web browser would be available or even included…and I was hoping for Opera. There is a video of the DSi presentation on YouTube.

Turns out there will be a web browser available (see above video from 01:45)…and it will be an Opera browser! In contrast to the current DS version, the DSi web browser will reside on the console’s flash memory meaning it will not come as a game-cartridge as the currently available Opera browser does.
The browser will most likely be pre-installed, “most likely” because my Japanese is not that great ;) Comments on the page over here are quoting the Nintendo site and also the Google and Babelfish translations state the browser has to be installed by the user. The English version slides of the introductory presentation of the DSi seem to state the web browser is part of the free DSiWare package.
Still, the English Wikipedia article states the DSi web browser will be pre-installed, the Japanese Wikipedia version (in the Google and Babelfish translations) state the same. So I would assume it will be pre-installed, it’s probably the means to access the DSi store anyways. Opera also officially verified their co-operation with Nintendo for the DSi (not mentioning if it’s pre-installed or an add-on).

If the browser will feature Ajax / XHR is not sure. The currently available Opera browser for the DS can do JavaScript but no XHR. According to a few sources, mostly comments in various blogs, the DSi browser appears to be faster, so there’s hope in the Ajax department too.

Finally a short and very rough calculation: in 2 years time the current Nintendo DS Lite sold around 50m times, next year maybe 10m DSi will be sold, in 2 years about another 20-30m. That makes around 30-40m new devices with a decent web browser and WiFi in 2 years…Now is there going to be a market for specialized DSi web apps or what?