News Article

Next DS to Have Mobile Phone Capabilities?

Posted by Damien McFerran

Miyamoto drops a hint

Although Nintendo has gone to great lengths to insist that the DS and iPhone aren’t in direct competition, a recent comment from golden boy Shigeru Miyamoto has led to speculation that the company's next portable will have some kind of wireless connectivity that will allow users to access data when they’re out and about – and not just when in close proximity to a Wi-Fi spot.

Mario’s dad spoketh these words:

I'm interested in [a system] when you're walking in town with your DS, you can use various services.

NoJ head chap Satoru Iwata has been asked about the possibility of a ‘Nintendo phone’ in the past and has always remained adamant that the company would not produce such a device unless it could guarantee that no monthly contract would be required; given the low age of many DS owners, this certainly makes sense. However, should a way be found to offer users free connectivity, then you can expect something to happen.

After all, who is going to tell Miyamoto that he can’t have his portable dream?


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User Comments (24)




Hmmm, not sure its entirely a good idea...The mobile phone market is quite developed at the moment...



EmcGuy said:

Skype would be great, especially with the DSi camera's. I'm sure they can adapt the PSP3000 technology. (I realise that those would shouldn't be mentioned on this site)



Neomega said:

PSP, Xbox360, CD-i, Colecovision, and the Almighty N-Gage

I'm a bad boy!!!

But if someone called me while playing Mixed Messages I'd be happy.



StarDust4Ever said:

I could name at least a dozen reasons why this is a bad idea...

I have a Cowon A3 Media player that not only plays just about every non-DRM audio/video format imaginable, but can also output and record media through standard A/V cables. I have a DSi that I can play games on and surf the web for free. I have a cell phone for making calls with only - data plan and text messaging disabled because the additional fees are too expensive. I also own a TI89 graphing calculator that does symbolic math.

I don't need an all-in-one device like the iPhone. Problem with an all-in-one device is that it may do everything but it doesn't do everything well. The iPhone may play games but you'll never come close to the Nintendo experience. You can play music and video on it but it won't give you the Cowon experience. You can take photos with an iPhone, but they won't compare to a Nikon or Canon digital SLR in quality. The iPhone may have a calculator that's adequate for computing taxes, but it won't help you in trig or calculus. You can surf the web on it too - but only if you've got a lot of money to burn: no free web surfing at coffee shops, either

With the browser and the camera added, the DSi is slowly evolving towards becoming an all-in-one device. The DS and iPhone were never meant to compete with each other.

Anyone remember the Nokia N-Gage? It was marketed as being both a cell phone and a portable gaming system. Once in a movie theater before the previews started, I saw a woman attempting to play games on the N-Gage's awkward keypad - then she attempted to answer a phone call on it - I had to refrain from laughing out loud at how ridiculous the silly taco-shaped thing looked held sideways against her face! The N-Gage was a huge commercial flop. The DSi main focus is games, and everything else takes a back seat. I do not want the future of Nintendo handhelds to flop the way the N-Gage did. Apple's iPhone has already taken over that niche all-in-one market.



Damo said:

What you're all missing here is that Nintendo's aim is to have a device that is connected ALL of the time. Yes, you have connectivity with the DS and DSi but you have to be within range of an open Wi-Fi hotspot.

Miyamoto wants a machine that will connect to a network anywhere - and that requires the kind of tech that is commonly seen in mobile phones.



Hardy83 said:

LOL That ain't gonna happen in Canada. Our communications industry is so messed up right now. We're getting ripped off to high heaven.



JohnshiBRPG said:

Since Nintendo's online service is free (except downloads) along with everything else, maybe they should make it for the DSi and make this free or be released to retail without having to pay for additional costs, and Nintendo would have to create their own phone-numbering system.



warioswoods said:

Miyamoto's remarks are being misinterpreted. I don't believe he was alluding in any way to mobile phone capabilities, nor do I believe that he was primarily talking about a successor handheld; when he said "use various services" while "walking in town," it is much more reasonable to assume that he was referring to something like the DS download service that is available at the Mariners games. In other words, he's talking about individual businesses / venues setting up a local wireless service for the DS(i) for the purposes of enabling various features specific to that location.

The reference to walking around town simply means that he would like to see various services offered by a wide range of businesses, so that you could literally keep an eye on your DS-download menu and see what interesting apps pop up for your current location. There is no reason to think that he's talking about a kind of wifi access that would be beyond the existing local download capability.

I would consider any move towards a cell-network type of a service a mistake by Nintendo, and I'm fairly certain they are smart enough to avoid it. Using the DS and it's convenient touchscreen capabilities to offer various features for a location, however, is a great idea, and I can see guided tours for historical locations, maps to download at subway terminals, access to flight data at an airport, and many other possibilities that would be fantastic if implemented.

The real barrier would be getting business on board, since it would require a fair amount of setup. They'll need to make development very simple, as well as deployment. The Mariners example is an exception since Nintendo essentially owns the team.



wiiboy101 said:

his on about DSi becomming so main stream it offers services like shops can send you updates or people can comunicate or send each other things

a town centres map and direction guide may download to ur dsi as u enter the town


his talking information innovation as well as gaming innovation

like the cameras if your thinking take a picture UR SO FAR OF THE MARK ITS FUNNY they are there as gaming innovations



Viral said:

That sucks. I'm hoping that Nintendo realises that'd be a bad idea.



motang said:

Skype would be awesome for DSi. Well it can be done on the DS Lite as well with a Skype DS card.



dogsoldier said:

Agree with Damo - I think the big N want the DSi to have connectivity like the Amzon Kindle - basically a device that calls up when it needs to connect, not just when you are in a hot spot.



geek-master said:

i think this will be a future firmware update to the DSi and not a new game systime. nintendo already said clearly that the wii and the dsi are there last consles but they will keep on makeing video games for it for a very long time



Ricardo91 said:

This seems to be an interesting, though highly unnecessary new feature for the iphone, I mean DSi.



Atlantis1982 said:

@1. Apocalypse

Heck, I am just waiting for a new, proper DS as in DS 2!!!

Anyway, I agree with some that say that Miyamoto would just like to have the DSi be connected online all the time; really doubt he is pointing out to specifically to mobile phones. Honestly, if that were to happen then using the DS as a phone would be more of a joke than the NGAGE.

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