Cast for two

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Testing the Opera browser on Nintendo DS Lite

As I already mention in a previous post, the Nintendo DS Light (NDS Lite) will be able to do voice over ip (VOIP) as revealed in the article: Latest Pokemon titles morph DS into kid-friendly VoIP phone at Engadget. During my visit to the i-city event, I had some time to test out the Opera Browser for the Nintendo DS Lite. The Opera browser is a 45 euro package that consists out of the usual flash card that has to be inserted into the top slot where normal games are inserted and an extra card that has to be inserted into the front slot that contains extra memory:

Remark that the front slot is a different in a NDS and a NDS Lite. Check carefully for the right version when you would buy the browser.

My experiences using the Opera browser on the NDS Lite:
first of all, the DS lite Wifi connection only support WEP encryption. Since at home I'm using WPA, I could not test it at home. Setting up a Wifi connection is not childplay. In some cases indepth knowledge of the wifi router settings were necessary. This is not something to blaim Nintendo for, as setting up Wifi links is in general a difficult task. Probably only Apple will be able to solve this by using a RFID chip in every Wifi terminal (see their recent patent).
Second observation while browsing is that it's going slow. Something to be expected when you know that the DS Lite runs on a 67MHz ARM9 processor but I hoped more horsepower was made available in the extra front cartridge.
Third reading gmail on the DS Lite is possible although not very elegantly as Google does not support Opera's browser very well. Typing short emails is working fine and definitely an option.
Fourth, on the public hotspot of the local provider Telenet, authentication via username and password must be reentered after each session. Thus closing the DS lite and opening it again ment that the full username and password had to be entered again. I guess this has to do with Telenet infrastructure because I got a popup about a root certificate that could not be stored. I did not test Wifi in a open hotspot without authentication.
Fifth, during browsing it is not possible to play games. The top cartridge must be removed and browsing is then disabled. So no easy switching between reading mail and brain training...
To conclude, even in bright sunshine the screen stays readable. Kudos to Nintendo for this.

To conclude, the Opera browser for NDS Lite does not transform the game console into a functional handheld computer. To me, it looks more like a gimmick.

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