Nintendo Co. Ltd. plans to boost the features of its Nintendo DS handheld game by offering a digital TV tuner and Internet browser for the device later this year, the company said Wednesday.
The Internet browser from Opera Software ASA will be launched in Japan in June this year and will cost ¥3,800 (US$32), the company said. Internet access is already possible via the device’s built-in Wi-Fi adapter and is currently used for gaming. The Nintendo DS has two screens and the browser will make use of both. The lower screen will show an overview of the entire Web page while the top screen will show a magnified view of an area selected by the user.
The company did not announce plans to sell the browser outside Japan.
The digital TV tuner will be available in Japan before the end of this year and will be compatible with a new broadcasting service due to begin in April. The service will send a QVGA resolution (320 pixels by 240 pixels) MPEG4 signal intended to be received by portable devices. The service will run alongside a digital broadcasting service for televisions and will carry all of Japan’s major TV networks. Already, several cell phone makers have announced plans to build tuners for the service into their products.
Nintendo did not indicate a price for the tuner.
Nintendo’s chief competitor in the portable gaming market has already built an Internet browser into its handheld. Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. offered the browser
via a firmware update
for the PlayStation Portable last year, and recently added support for audio podcasts to the device. The PSP doesn’t have a TV tuner, although it can be
used as a viewer
for Sony Corp.’s Location Free TV system.