Nintendo to launch larger screen DSi

Nintendo is expected to launch a new DSi hand-held gaming device in Japan that has a larger screen, as the company tries to increase sales in the hand-held gaming market it once dominated.

The current unit has a 3.5-inch screen, but it is having a difficult time competing with the apple iPhone.  The unconfirmed report claims Nintendo wants to use a screen that is more than 4-inches in size, which is similar to the rival Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) unit.

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Despite including a larger screen, it seems analysts believe the DSi needs a more powerful processor — but it doesn’t appear Nintendo plans to make any other hardware changes with this upgrade.  Any major hardware upgrades will likely force Nintendo to introduce a new DSi casing, and it’s unlikely Nintendo is ready to do that quite yet.

Besides a new physical design, increasing the screen size wouldn’t make much sense — the gaming unit will keep the same specific resolution, and a screen size increase would lessen the video quality.  However, the Nikkei Business Daily report indicates Nintendo could market the new DSi towards older generations who have failing eyesight — and it could one day be used to compete with e-reading devices.

The new device, which will sell alongside the normal DSi, will carry the same 18,900 yen ($210 USD) price tag.  It is expected to launch in Japan before the end of the year, with no public North America launch details announced.