? Nintendo's newest addition to the DS family of handheld systems has been announced! The DSi has been confirmed to be released in Japan in November, and is slated to hit Western markets later next year. Nintendo's DS was originally released to eager gamers in 2004. The hugely popular system introduced an intuitive touchscreen, a built-in microphone, and a wide range of titles for almost every genre. In 2006, Nintendo released the DS Lite, a sleeker repackaging of the original DS. So will the DSi be just another repackaging of the same system? The answer is, thankfully, no. Although the DS Lite did present gamers with a fancy new case and packaging, the product itself did not do much, component-wise, to really stand apart from its predecessor. With the DSi, however, Nintendo has already solidified several key changes and additions that will certainly separate it from the previous DS systems. Cosmetically, Nintendo has made some slight modifications. Like the DS Lite, the DSi will have some slight physical changes to the design, including bigger screens (3.25 inches) and matte colors for the casing (versus the glossy DS Lite). Nintendo will also be reducing the size of the DSi, making it 2.6mm thinner than the already slim DS Lite. Unfortunately the reduction in size means that Nintendo had to sacrifice backward-compatibility. The DSi, unlike its predecessors, will not be able to play Game Boy Advance titles. But perhaps the biggest cosmetic change to the system is the addition of both an external camera and a VGA camera (which is located on the hinge). Users will be able to capture 640x480 pictures, and edit them using the touchscreen. The DSi will also include an SD-card slot, as well as on-board memory. Nintendo is hoping to expand the role of the DSi into the realm of multimedia devices, allowing owners to utilize their DSi as a media player. Unfortunately, the device will not support the MP3 format, but only AAC files. The DSi will include a Nintendo DS web browser, and the ability to download games using Nintendo points. Users will be able to purchase Points and use them to buy games offered through Nintendo's DS Wares. The DSi is certainly chock full of new features and gadgets, making gamers and technophiles alike giddy in anticipation, myself included. Nintendo has done a terrific job garnering attention and excitement regarding the release of the new system, but will it surpass the DS Lite? I guess we'll have to wait to find out.