The Nintendo DS (sometimes abbreviated NDS or more commonly DS) is a handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was released in 2004 in Canada, U.S., and Japan. The console features a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP, with two LCD screens inside - one of which is a touchscreen. The Nintendo DS also features a built-in microphone and supports wireless IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards, allowing players to interact with each other within short range (10–30 m, depending on conditions) or online with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service, which launched later in the console's lifespan. This was the first Nintendo console to be released in North America prior to Japan.
The system's code name was Nitro, and this can be seen in the model codes that appear on the unit (NTR-001). The console's name officially refers to "Developers' System", in reference to the new game design the system was meant to inspire, and "Dual Screen", the system's most obvious and distinct feature.
On March 2, 2006, Nintendo released the Nintendo DS Lite, a redesign of the Nintendo DS, in Japan. It was later released in North America, Europe, and Australia in June 2006. The DS Lite is a slimmer and lighter version of the Nintendo DS and has brighter screens. Nintendo of America refers to the older model as the "original style" Nintendo DS.
In 2008 Nintendo was honored at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for pioneering the development of handheld games with its Nintendo DS system.
On November 13, 2003, Nintendo announced that it would be creating a new console for release in 2004. Nintendo said that it would not be the successor to either the Nintendo GameCube or the Game Boy Advance, but rather it would be considered a "third pillar" alongside the two consoles. On January 20, 2004, the console was announced under the codename "Nintendo DS". Nintendo released very few details at that time, only saying that the console would have two separate 3 in. TFT LCD display panels, separate processors, and up to 1 gigabit of semiconductor memory. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said "We have developed Nintendo DS based upon a completely different concept from existing game devices in order to provide players with a unique entertainment experience for the 21st century." In March, the codename was changed to "Nitro" and a document containing most of the console's technical specifications was leaked. In May, the codename was changed back to "Nintendo DS" (DS standing for Dual Screen) and the console was shown in prototype form at E3. All of the features of the console were released by Nintendo at E3. On July 28, 2004, Nintendo revealed a new design, one that was described as "sleeker and more elegant" than the one shown at E3. Also, the codename "Nintendo DS" became the official name of the console that day.
The Nintendo DS bears a striking resemblance to Nintendo's first handheld, the Game & Watch, specifically the multi-screen versions such as Donkey Kong.
On September 20, 2004, Nintendo announced that the Nintendo DS would be released in North America on November 21, 2004 for US$149.99. It was set to release on December 2, 2004 in Japan and in the first quarter of 2005 in Europe and Australia. The console was released in North America with a midnight launch event at Universal CityWalk EB Games in Los Angeles, California. The console was launched quietly in Japan compared to the North America launch; one source cites the cold weather as the reason. In January 2005, the Australia release date of February 24, 2005 and the Europe release date of March 11, 2005 were announced.
Nintendo DS Lite
The Nintendo DS Lite is a slimmer, more lightweight redesign of the original Nintendo DS model. It was announced on January 26, 2006, more than a month before its first territorial launch in Japan on March 2, 2006.
The features and capabilities are the same as the original style DS, but the DS Lite has four levels of LCD screen brightness. However, the four levels do not include a level where the backlight is off, thus making the system more vulnerable to glare. Unlike the casing of the original style DS, the DS Lite has a shiny glossy semi-transparent outside casing. The LED battery and charging light indicators have been moved to the upper right-hand corner of the unit, making it viewable regardless of whether the system is open or closed. The "start" and "select" buttons have been moved to the lower right-hand side of the touchscreen, the microphone has been moved to the direct center of the opened device, and the A, B, X, Y, and D-Pad seem to have been designed to match the Wii and Game Boy Micro. The power button above the D-pad was removed and replaced with a switch placed on the right side of the unit, in order to avoid accidental shut-off.[verification needed] Another improvement is the longer and thicker stylus, significantly reducing the amount of hand cramps as its users use it extensively throughout game play; the stylus holster was moved from the top of the unit to the right side. Although a loop for a wrist strap was retained on the top of the unit, the DS Lite does not ship with a wrist strap. Along with the other advancements, the Game Boy port of the DS Lite is shorter than the original style DS's port. When inserted, the Game Boy Advance cartridge protrudes out approximately 1 cm from under the unit. Also, the charger connector is smaller, so a different charger must be used. Although the connector is similar in form factor to the Game Boy Micro, their AC adapters are not cross compatible. It also comes with a dust-protector for the GBA slot which also provides a seamless surface.