Wii Web browser Friday, weather channel today

Beta version of Opera Web browser at end of week, Forecast channel now live; News Channel coming January 27.

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While much of the hoopla surrounding the Wii has so far involved arms flailing around with the new Wii Remote, the Wii is also taking Nintendo in other new directions. Downloadable old-school games, user-to-user messaging, and multimedia functions are intended to bring in the all-important nongaming crowd.

This week sees two major additions to the Wii's functionality to go with gamers' morning coffee. On Friday, Nintendo will release the beta version of the Opera Web browser, enabling Internet-connected Wiis to surf the Web. The beta version will be available on the Wii Shop Channel for free.

The final version of the software will be available "at the end of March 2007" and will also be free through the end of June 2007. After that, new adopters will be charged 500 Wii Points ($5) for the application.

Mixed weather coming up for EA's headquarters.
Mixed weather coming up for EA's headquarters.

Wii owners can also now be prepared for the worst (or best) that Mother Nature throws at them. Now available is the Forecast Channel--a free channel devoted specifically to giving the latest information on the outside elements. To get the channel, Wii owners need only click on the Forecast Channel and download an update.

Gamers can bookmark local weather as their favorite and check up to a five-day forecast, or they can pan out and see how hot it is all over the world with an interactive to-scale globe.

Nintendo told GameSpot that the last major Wii channel, the News Channel, is due out on January 27.

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