The Nintendo DS Lite portable console is getting an upgrade, with a new thinner version featuring dual-digital cameras expected by the end of the year in Japan.

The Nintendo DSi looks similar to the current DS Lite and is a little thinner because it doesn't have a slot for GameBoy Advance cartridges. The device's two screens are slightly larger at 3.25in instead of 3in, and two digital cameras have been added. The outer camera has a 3-megapixel resolution and pictures can be stored on an SD Card for transfer to the Nintendo Wii or a computer.

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It will launch in Japan on November 1 and will cost ¥18,900 (£100). That's slightly more expensive than the current DS Lite, which costs ¥16,800. Detailed launch plans for other markets were not detailed at a Tokyo news conference held to announce the device but Nintendo said it won't be available overseas until 2009.

Following in the steps of its Wii console and competing devices Nintendo will launch an online applications store for the DSi.

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Nintendo DSi versus Nintendo DS Lite

Nintendo's new DSi looks a lot like the DS Lite that was launched two years ago but there are some differences. Here's a comparison of the specifications of the two devices:

Screen: The DSi screen is 3.25in diagonal width. That's bigger than the 3in panels on the DS Lite. Both are colour TFT LCDs with 260,000 pixels resolution.

Size: The DSi measures 137mm by 74.9mm by 18.9mm making it a little longer, deeper and thinner than the DS Lite, which measures 133mm by 73.9mm by 21.5mm.

Weight: The DSi weighs in at 214g. That's a touch lighter than the 218g DS Lite but close enough that you're unlikely to notice.

Battery life: Depending on the screen brightness gamers can expect anywhere between 3 hours and 14 hours on the DSi versus 5 hours to 19 hours on the DS Lite.

Battery recharge time: Good news for gamers is that the DSi takes 2 hours and 30 minutes to recharge - 30 minutes faster than the DS Lite.

Compatibility: The DSi can play software developed for the DS and DSi but lacks the compatibility for GameBoy Advance software that's present on the DS Lite. Any DSi-specific software won't play on the DS Lite.

Inputs: The DSi features a DS and SD Card slot. On the DS Lite you can find a DS Card slot and GameBoy Advance cartridge slot but no SD Card compatibility. Both have connectors for power and a stereo headphone and microphone.

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