The Nintendo DS (ニンテンドーDS, Nintendō DS?), is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and released by Nintendo. The device was the first Nintendo game console to launch outside of Japan when it went on sale in North America on November 21, 2004. The DS, short for dual screen, introduced distinctive new features to handheld gaming: an LCD screen working in tandem with a touchscreen, a built-in microphone, and support for wireless connectivity. Both screens are encompassed within a clamshell design similar to the Game Boy Advance SP. The Nintendo DS also features the ability for multiple DS consoles to directly interact with each other over Wi-Fi within a short range without the need to connect to an existing wireless network. Alternatively, they can interact online using the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.
Prior to its release, the Nintendo DS was marketed as a "third pillar" in Nintendo's console lineup, meant to complement the Game Boy Advance and GameCube. However, backward compatibility with Game Boy Advance titles and strong sales ultimately established the new handheld console as the successor to the Game Boy series. On March 2, 2006, Nintendo launched the Nintendo DS Lite, a slimmer and lighter redesign of the original Nintendo DS with brighter screens. On November 1, 2008, Nintendo released the Nintendo DSi, another redesign with several hardware improvements and new features. As of September 30, 2012, all Nintendo DS models combined have sold 152.50 million units, making it the best selling handheld game console to date, and the second best selling video game console overall behind Sony's PlayStation 2.