Officials from Nintendo have announced that the Forecast channel for the Wii console has gone online, while also confirming a new date and pricing plan for the Internet channel and Opera web browser.
The Forecast Channel is provided in conjunction with Weathernews.com, and allows users to check weather information for anywhere in the world using a 3D globe. The channel was enabled overnight via a small online update – the first such update since the Wii’s shop went online at launch.
Although Nintendo has implied that many more channels will be made available for the console over time, the Forecast, News, Internet and Shop channels are the only ones so far described in detail. According to an official Nintendo press release the Internet channel, using the Opera Web browser, will go live worldwide on December 22nd.
As previously reported, the Internet channel will be free to download until June 2007, after which it will cost 500 Wii Points ($5) to download. The initial version available this year is described as a beta version, with the final version scheduled for March 2007. Unlike the much criticized Nintendo DS Browser, the Wii version of the Opera software will support Adobe Flash and other more advanced online features.
“Our software brings the power and reach of the Internet to the hottest video game system available,” said Scott Hedrick, executive vice president, devices at Opera Software. “Wii’s unique interface adds a new dimension to our browser, making it a useful tool that the whole family will enjoy operating with ease.”
No update on the launch of the News channel, with content to be provided by the Associated Press, was made by Nintendo, although an earlier press release had suggested a launch date of January 27th in North America and Europe.