Electronic Design

Handheld Game Platform Packs Wireless Power

The Nintendo DS could turn into one of the hottest toys this holiday season. Its dual-screen feature offers multiple perspectives. Touch input is available through a stylus. And, voice recognition will let players simply tell their characters what to do. But its real advantage lies in its player-to-player communication.

Nintendo utilizes RF Micro Devices' 802.11 wireless local-area-network transceiver to power multiplayer action. Users can team up against the computer or go head-to-head against each other in the dozens of games on tap for the system. Also, its PictoChat software turns it into a communicator. Users can write messages, including text and drawings, with the on-screen keyboard or the stylus and send them to other nearby users. A DS in sleep mode will even wake up if it senses another DS in transmitting range.

The unit's two speakers offer virtual surroundsound. With the cover closed, it's only 5.85 by 3.33 by 1.13 in. Nintendo is producing the first 20 games, and more than 100 companies have signed on to create additional titles. Priced at $149.99, the Nintendo DS will debut in North America on November 21.

For details, see www.nintendo.com or www.rfmd.com.

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