Nintendo has announced that it will launch its DSi games console in Europe on 3 April.

The thinnest and lightest of Nintendo's handheld consoles, the DSi will be Nintendo's third such device and will compete with its stablemates as well as with Sony's PlayStation Portable.

In common with Nintendo's hugely successful Wii console, the DSi will be marketed as an interaction device for the whole family, with internet access, photo sharing and a motion-detecting camera among its key features. Nintendo has a library of more than 1,000 games, any of which will be downloadable directly to the Nintedo DSi games console.

Nintendo says it will include 11 special effects that can be used with the DSi's two built-in cameras, enabling users to take some unusual shots. As with the existing Nintendo DS console, the DSi will have a stylus and this will be used to conjure up some of the zany photo effects, distorting images.

In addition, players will be able to turn themselves or their friends in Mario, Nintendo's best-known character.

Distortions won't just be limited to visual effects; console owners will also be able to play havoc with the music on their DSi, altering the rhythm, remixing tracks and adjusting the playback speed and pitch.

See also: New Nintendo DS to feature camera and music player

As well as being a fantastic ruse to annoy old fuddy-duddies who keep moaning at you for playing your DSi all day, Nintendo says the sound-mixer function will have the practical application of being used with language-learning software, slowing down to the speed the student requires to practice and perfect their pronunciation.

Nintendo says it offer the DSi games console in a choice of black or white finishes. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Click here to see the Nintendo DS-i in action:

Nintendo DS-i video