If you’ve taken the time to connect your Nintendo Wii to your in-home wireless network you’ll want to check out the new firmware upgrade available for the console. The new version 3.1 can be automatically installed by going to your system settings and selecting the option to upgrade, and in our case it wouldn’t let us use the Shop Channel again until we did.
The firmware upgrade brings support for a USB keyboard to connect to your game console to make surfing the web and entering information a lot, lot easier. Prior to this update it was necessary to use the Wii Remote to navigate a pointer around the screen and select letters from a large keyboard anytime you wanted to type in a URL or fill out any information (including signing up and buying things from the Shop Channel). It was very cumbersome and the new ability to connect a keyboard to one of the two USB ports on the back of the console is a much welcomed feature.
The new version 3.1 also brings an upgrade to the Opera web browser for the Wii. If you haven’t gotten the browser yet you can purchase it through the Shop Channel for 500 Wii points. It then gives you the Internet Channel option on the Wii Menu where you can now more easily surf web sites, save more favorites (so you don’t have to type them in at all) and send your favorite sites to buddies through the console software.
There is also a new version of the Everybody Votes Channel. This is a free purchase that can be made through the Shop Channel that allows up to six Mii characters to vote on answers to a variety of questions specific for your area or global questions. Once the polls expire you can come back and see how your answers compared to others. Also, Nintendo also brought some new titles for their upcoming WiiWare software products including a new Final Fantasy : Crystal Chronicles game and a new Dr. Mario.