Can I hit you back on my new DS?
Nintendo (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) finally released the specs for its upcoming DSi upgrade to its popular handheld portable. It's practically a smartphone. Unlike the existing Nintendo DS and DS lite models, the DSi has:
- Removable memory, offering digital music storage and playback.
- Not one but two cameras -- one on the outside for conventional snapshots, and another when the clamshell is open.
- A more compact design, but larger dual screens.
- Improved Wi-Fi connectivity and a new version of the Opera browser.
The only thing it doesn't do is make phone calls. OK, so that's pretty much a dealbreaker for folks who expect smartphones to be, you know, phones. But isn't Nintendo just a handshake away from making it happen? Whether the deal's done through a hungry telco or an even hungrier handset maker, like Nokia
The new DSi hits Japan next month, with a stateside rollout likely next year. If it catches on as more than just a gaming device, a smartphone is the next logical step.
BlackBerry grower Research In Motion
True, the Nintendo brand does skew younger. That's a horrendous market in which to peddle phones. Just ask LeapFrog
For starters, it has an established user base of DS users. The company has sold more than 77 million DS and DS lite systems since its debut four years ago. A new breed of lifestyle games has also broadened the system's reach.
The DS is too big to be a phone in its current incarnation, but as laptops get smaller, and digital media players grow bigger screens, what if the DSi nails the perfect compromise?
This can -- no, this will -- get interesting. Nintendo is growing up, and out.
Some other smart smartphone moves:
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has already been won over by the iPhone, contractually speaking. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, save for Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.