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The Nintendo DS (sometimes abbreviated to DS or NDS, and now officially renamed Original Style Nintendo DS) is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was released in 2004 in Canada, the United States, and Japan. The console features a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP, with two LCD screens inside - with the bottom one being a touchscreen. The Nintendo DS also features a built-in microphone and supports wireless IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards, allowing players to interact with each other within short range (10–30 m, depending on conditions) or online with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service, which launched later in the console's lifespan. This was the first Nintendo console to be released in North America prior to Japan.
The system's code name was Nitro, and this can be seen in the model number that appear on the unit (NTR-001). The console's name officially refers to "Developers' System", in reference to the new game design the system was meant to inspire, and "Dual Screen", the system's most obvious and distinct feature.
On March 2, 2006, Nintendo released the Nintendo DS Lite, a redesign of the Nintendo DS, in Japan. It was later released in North America, Europe, and Australia in June 2006. The DS Lite is a slimmer and lighter version of the Nintendo DS and has brighter screens. Nintendo of America refers to the older model as the "original style" Nintendo DS.
The lower display of the Nintendo DS is overlaid with a touchscreen, designed to accept input from the included stylus, the user's fingers, or a curved plastic tab attached to the optional wrist strap. The touchscreen allows users to interact with in-game elements more directly than by pressing buttons; for example, in the included chatting software, PictoChat, the stylus is used to write messages or draw.
Traditional controls are located on either side of the touchscreen. To the left is a D-pad, with a narrow Power button above it, and to the right are the A, B, X, and Y buttons, with narrow Select and Start buttons above them. Shoulder buttons L and R are located on the upper corners of the lower half of the system. The overall button layout is similar to the controller of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super Famicom in Japan).
The Nintendo DS features stereo speakers providing virtual surround sound (depending on the software) located on either side of the upper display screen. This is a first for a Nintendo handheld, as the Game Boy line of systems has only supported stereo sound through the use of headphones or external speakers.
A built-in microphone is located below the left side of the bottom screen. It has been used for a variety of purposes, including speech recognition (Nintendogs, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!), chatting online between and during gameplay sessions (Pokémon Diamond and Pearl), and minigames that require the player to blow or shout into the microphone.
The Nintendo DS was redesigned as the Nintendo DS Lite, which was succeeded by the Nintendo DSi, which resembles the DS Lite but with built in cameras and other extra features including a music player and access to the DSiWare digital download service through the Nintendo DSi Shop. The Nintendo 3DS is the successor to the Nintendo DS line altogether, touting features such as 3D visuals without the need for special glasses, improved graphics capabilities, a "tag mode" likened to WiiConnect24, among other new features. Star Fox 64 3D a remake of Star Fox 64, was released for the system in 2011.
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