Filings and formal listings can occasionally be a means to see a product before it's revealed to the world, and we may just have such a case today. Eagle-eyed observers on NeoGAF have unearthed an approved FCC listing for a Bluetooth device that looks very much like the amiibo NFC Reader, but in this case with potential support beyond the 3DS.
So, what's been found on a factual level? It's an FCC (US-based Federal Communications Commission) approval for a Bluetooth device, with a limited number of documents available to see. A number of documents and reports for the record, such as photos and schematics, are currently marked as confidential until 18th April 2017, with some documents available from today (19th October).
Only one image has made it through so far (which was evidently confidential in earlier stages of the application), with the model number (CTR-013) being one above the reference for the 3DS NFC Reader (CTR-012); the latter was released to allow amiibo figures and cards to be scanned and used fully with original 3DS models, which lack the in-built NFC reader of the New Nintendo 3DS.
The 3DS NFC Reader utilises IR (Infrared), but a potential Bluetooth device could enable amiibo to utilise the Bluetooth capabilities of smart devices. Though most smart devices support NFC, some examples such as iPhones lock the technology behind specific features and functionality, such as Apple Pay. It's possible that this device is also a way for Nintendo to control how amiibo would read and write data on a phone or compatible tablet, providing a layer of security. Whatever the reasoning, it's possible that Nintendo could utilise such a reader to support amiibo on a variety of smart devices.
With Nintendo bringing more and more major IPs to mobile - including some that have supported amiibo on 3DS and Wii U - this could be a smart move. Naturally some will wonder whether this listing could also relate to a peripheral for the mysterious NX, though we're not sure about that. We'd be surprised if Nintendo's next system doesn't support amiibo within the hardware (in the same way as the Wii U GamePad and New 3DS) but at this stage that's simply unknown.
In any case, this seems to be a Bluetooth NFC Reader, which could mean interesting times ahead for amiibo. Let us know what you think in the comments.
With thanks to Benson for the heads up.