Nintendo releases final version of Opera internet browser for Wii

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wii with earlier version of Opera browser.

Nintendo of America Inc. (Nintendo) announced on Thursday the release of a full version of the Wii gaming system's Internet Channel. Powered by a customized Opera Internet browser, the service will allow gamers with high-speed connections to surf the Internet on their television.

According to the Nintendo news release, the Channel's final version is available as a free download until June 30, after which it will cost 500 Wii Points, or approximately five US dollars. Once downloaded, the Internet Channel would be free for the lifetime of the system.

The Opera browser had been available in a beta format with limitations on the functionality. The final version boasts improvements such as a manual zoom, improved scrolling, as well as collapsible toolbars and multiple on-screen cursors. In addition, users are given the choice of presetting either Google or Yahoo! as a search engine to power the built-in search button.

Some enthusiasts have complained that using the Wii's controllers rather than a keyboard to enter text, can be awkward. "Opening the address bar does not open it with the current URL. That would have been nice." wrote Slashdot member LBt1st. "It would also be nice if it would make plain text URL's into links. Manual entry is hell without a keyboard."

Others lamented the lack of availability of the Wii system in stores and were concerned that the free download offer might expire before being able to obtain a system. "Great! Now all I need is a Wii! Still searching for one in Toronto," complained Slashdot member, CokeBear.

The full version of the Internet Channel, with the Opera browser, is available for download in North America only at this stage.