Nintendo’s just announced a newer, bigger DS handheld–the DSi LL. The whole aim of a bigger machine is a bigger screen, of course, and Nintendo’s delivered that with a 4.2-inch screen in a body that’s still very holdable.
Nintendo’s taken this move due to customer pressure–but it’s not really a surprise: The DSi itself had a 17% bigger screen at 3.25 inches than its predecessor DS. The pixel count is unchanged, of course, to keep consistency between the consoles so no reprogramming is needed by developers, but the bigger real estate will make games more immersive and be a boon for those who surf the net on their DSi (as you can see from the screen size comparison below). It’ll be otherwise identical, though measuring a couple of millimeters deeper than the earlier model, and that apparently even extends to battery life–the larger chassis seems not to tally with a larger-life rechargeable cell.
It’ll ship with two touch styluses, a short and a long one, and some pre-loaded brain-training games and a dictionary. Don’t expect it to necessarily be called the LL though–Nintendo’s said it’ll hit Europe in the first quarter of 2010 with the name “DSi XL,” a title that better fits the super-sizing perhaps.
Bit of a shame that Nintendo isn’t suping-up the machine behind the screen, but as it’s taking the same stance on the Wii–why upgrade it when it’s selling well as is?–that’s not too much of a shock. Nintendo’s basically taking advantage of the trend towards larger screen handheld devices (think of the dumbphone and smartphone markets, and you’ll see what I mean) which mean bigger screens are available at lower unit prices to give the DSi a little cosmetic refresh in the hope of pushing sales.