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DS gets web browser, TV tuner

Also: Nintendo talks Winning Eleven, Calligraphy Training, more.

Nintendo DS is getting a web browser based on Opera, a digital TV tuner add-on, and new games including Calligraphy Training and Winning Eleven, Nintendo's announced at a press conference in Japan.

The event gave the gathered press a chance to see the DS Lite, due to launch in Japan on March 2nd, up close, while Nintendo also used the address to showcase video footage of Children of Mana and XenoSaga 1 & 2, and announce Japanese release dates and pricing for Tetris DS and New Super Mario Bros.

The web browser, which is expected to launch at the end of June in Japan, will come on a regular DS game card and cost 3800 yen (EUR 27 / GBP 18). Web pages will appear across both of the DS' screens, with PDA-style touch input. "Opera exceeded our expectations with its user friendly interface, quick access to all your favorite sites, ease of use and, most importantly, in making the best use of the Nintendo DS system's unique double screens and touch screen features," said Masaru Shimomura of Nintendo R&D. There's more information and a (very) small image on the Opera website.

The TV tuner add-on will occupy the standard DS game slot, protruding out behind the DS top-screen with an aerial that makes the DS look a bit like a gargoyle out of Snow Crash probably. It's being done in collusion with 1Seg, a Japanese outfit, so if Nintendo does similar things in the US and Europe it's likely to partner with someone else.

The Japanese DS Lite will be supported by shipments of 500,000 in the first two weeks and up to one million for the whole of March, said Nintendo. A month later in April, Tetris DS will launch at an unusual price of 3800 yen, followed by the 4800 yen (EUR 34 / GBP 24) New Super Mario Bros. in May.

DS owners can also look forward to a Calligraphy Training game in the same vein as the ridiculously successful Brain Training titles, with a cooking game of some description also in the offing. Other announcements include Winning Eleven from Konami (Pro Evolution Soccer in Europe), Super Robot Wars and Dynasty Warriors, while Children of Mana and XenoSaga were both presentable enough to be shown in video form.