The Wii is a home console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006 (North America). It was mainly developed by BroadOn, ATi, NEC, IBM, Nintendo iRD and NCL. It is the second iteration of Nintendo's PowerPC 750-based hardware platform that was used between 1997 and 2012, and the hardware architecture of the Wii was intentionally designed to be a natural iteration on the GameCube's hardware (and, to some extent, software as well) architecture .
Design of the Wii (initially called "GameCube 2", then "New Nintendo GameCube" and finally codenamed "Revolution") started in mid-2003, with ATi (which had acquired ArtX, the company Nintendo contracted to develop the GameCube's GPU) being contracted to develop the "Hollywood" SoC containing the GPU, security coprocessor (the IOP, more commonly known as Starlet), and various other system components. The IBM-provided CPU was a slight refresh of the GameCube "Flipper" CPU, with minor improvements, a CPU clock speed boost from 486 to 729 megahertz, a die shrink, and corrections of CPU errata found in the Flipper. The motion control technology used in the Wii Remote was internally developed by Nintendo in collaboration with Gyration, Inc. The Wii's development was quite rushed, with initial bringup taking a surprisingly long time (early developers had to use a "Revolution Emulator", with development of the Revolution SDK, a fork of the GameCube SDK, only beginning in March 2005, development of IOP OS beginning May 2005, the first devkits only going out in late 2005, and the main system UI only finished five days in advance of the console's worldwide release date) This required early units (mostly used in kiosks) to be manually updated with a Wii Startup Disc.
The Wii runs IOP-OS, a custom microkernel OS developed by BroadOn. This OS runs on the IOP (an ARM9 core inside the Hollywood package) while game software runs on the Broadway. The Broadway does not run an OS, but an RVL_SDK "Revolution OS" library is used to provide some basic services to applications. Software running on the Broadway and the IOPP
The Wii was also shipped with some user-facing Broadway applications providing additional functionality to the system, including the Wii System Menu and the Wii Channels.
Since each piece of software (including individual Channels, IOS and the Wii System Menu) is packaged as a discrete WAD file, an OS update includes a WAD for each updated component.
The official OS update versioning system correlates to System Menu updates; some updates of individual components were distributed which do not update the version number.
OS Update Revisions
- Wii System Menu 1.0
- Wii System Menu 2.0
- Wii System Menu 2.1
- Wii System Menu 2.2
- Wii System Menu 3.0
- Wii System Menu 3.1
- Wii System Menu 3.3
- Wii System Menu 3.4
- Wii System Menu 3.5
- Wii System Menu 4.0
- Wii System Menu 4.1
- Wii System Menu 4.2
- Wii System Menu 4.3
On development units, a development menu is installed in place of the Wii System Menu by default. Some early units also used a Wii Startup Disc launcher program in place of the Wii System Menu.