Game Boy Advance SP

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Game Boy Advance SP
Manufacturer Nintendo
Type Handheld gaming console
Generation Sixth generation era
First available JP February 14, 2003
NA March 23, 2003
AU EU March 28, 2003
CPU 32-bit RISC-CPU (16.78 MHz)
Media cartridges
Units sold 43.02 million (details)
Best-selling game Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, 13 million combined (as of November 25, 2004)
Backward compatibility Game Boy, Game Boy Color
Predecessor Game Boy Advance (concurrent)
Successor Game Boy Micro (redesign)

The Game Boy Advance SP (ゲームボーイアドバンスSP Gēmu Bōi Adobansu Esupī    ), released in February 2003, is an upgraded version of Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. The "SP" in Game Boy Advance SP stands for "Special Player". The SP was marketed at US$99.99 at launch. In September 2004, Nintendo lowered the price to US$79.99. The SP is accompanied by the Nintendo DS (released in November 2004) and the Game Boy Micro (released in September 2005).

In Japan, it was marketed at 12,500Ą on February 14, 2003. In Canada, it was marketed at CA$149.95 on March 22, 2003. In Australia, it was marketed at AU$199.99 on March 28, 2003. In Europe, it was marketed at €129.99 on March 28, 2003.

 Technical specifications

 Physical

The GBA SP is slightly more than half the size of the GBA when closed and roughly the height of Nintendo's Game Boy Color when open. The clamshell or laptop design protects the screen from scratches and dust, reminiscent of two-screen Game & Watch units. However, the casing is made from a different material, making it more prone to scratches than previous Game Boy systems.

The GBA SP AC adapter comes with the package to recharge its lithium ion battery, something previous Game Boys did not have. The software library and general hardware specifications are identical to those of the Game Boy Advance.

In Japan it was released in a variety of standard colours and special packages. In most other regions it was released in Platinum Silver, and Charcoal Black. Later a Flame Red version was released. The Six special editions have also been released: a NES Classics model with the same color scheme as a classic NES controller (and designed to resemble an NES deck when closed), a SpongeBob SquarePants model, a Pikachu model, and a silver SP with a tattoo engraved on it, called the 'Tribal Edition'. In other regions, such as Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, additional colors have been released, such as Pearl Green and Starlight Gold.[citation needed] Additionally, two new special versions have been released in Asia exclusive to that region.

 Internal

 Headphone jack

Headphone adapter for Game Boy Advance SP
Headphone adapter for Game Boy Advance SP

Due to form-factor limitations, Nintendo removed the headphone jack, which had been included on all previous Game Boy models. Headphones designed specifically for the GBA SP can be purchased, or standard headphones can be attached with an optional adapter that plugs into the same port as the AC adapter.

As both AC adapter and headphones use the same port, it is not possible to charge the SP and listen to headphones at the same time with the Nintendo brand adapter. There are however third-party solutions, such as an adapter that "splits" into two different cords; The power jack on one side, and a normal headphone jack on the other.

Majesco developed officially licensed neckband stereo headphones that plugs directly into the port without the need of an adapter.

 Backlit version

In North America in September 2005, around the time of the Game Boy Micro's release, Nintendo released an improved version of the Game Boy Advance SP featuring a backlight instead of the previous version's frontlight. The brightness can be set to low or high. The box says, "Now with a BRIGHTER backlit screen!" to distinguish the new model from the older, frontlit models. In addition, the backlit SP model can be recognized by the AGS-101 model designation on the bottom of the unit.

The standard edition of the backlit version comes in four colors, Pearl Blue, Graphite (a grayer version of Charcoal Black), Flame Red, and Pearl Pink.

 Sales information

As of December 31, 2007, the Game Boy Advance series has sold 80.72 million units worldwide, of which 43.02 million are Game Boy Advance SP units.

Life-to-date Number of units sold
Date Japan Americas Other Total
2003-03-31 0.82 million 0.83 million 0.46 million 2.11 million
2003-06-30 4.84 million
2003-09-30 2.33 million 4.32 million 2.38 million 9.04 million
2003-12-31 3.14 million 7.82 million 4.34 million 15.30 million
2004-03-31 3.68 million 8.78 million 4.70 million 17.16 million
2004-06-30 19.33 million
2004-09-30 5.02 million 12.46 million 6.21 million 23.68 million
2004-12-31 5.94 million 16.13 million 8.67 million 30.73 million
2005-03-31 6.00 million 16.69 million 9.10 million 31.79 million
2005-06-30
2005-09-30 6.16 million 18.08 million 10.08 million 34.32 million
2005-12-31 6.35 million 20.40 million 10.64 million 37.40 million
2006-03-31 6.42 million 20.95 million 10.86 million 38.23 million
2006-06-30 6.46 million 21.30 million 11.08 million 38.84 million
2006-09-30 6.48 million 21.95 million 11.37 million 39.79 million
2006-12-31 6.50 million 23.06 million 11.78 million 41.33 million
2007-03-31 6.50 million 23.47 million 11.95 million 41.92 million
2007-06-30 6.50 million 23.78 million 12.14 million 42.43 million
2007-09-30 6.51 million 24.01 million 12.31 million 42.82 million
2007-12-31 6.51 million 24.01 million 12.51 million 43.02 million