Cellphone-inspired DS rework rumoured – VoIP a major sell

Best-selling Nintendo handheld's evolution uncovered

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Cellphone-inspired DS rework rumoured – VoIP a major sell
Unconfirmed gossip from Japan suggests a significant change of tack for Nintendo's DS redesign, indicating a cellular phone-inspired design will be accompanied by voice-driven functionality.

Another clamshell design is expected, with the DS slimmed down significantly in all directions. The new DS is expected to be '...an opening square' with the side-buttons and D-pad barely fitting.

Of course, regular readers will have known for sometime time that the DS was being designed. We spoke exclusively with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata last year, an interview that dropped the first hints at what Nintendo's design teams might be planning.

Speaking to SPOnG, Iwata said, “Hardware developers at Nintendo are always looking for what comes next and what will be the new direction as soon as they finish the design of any particular piece of hardware,” he explained. “Some of them are actually working on improved functionality of the existing machine, with some working on a rework of the exterior design exactly in the same way they did with the transition from Game Boy Advance to Game Boy Advance SP.”

You can read the full interview piece here.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the mooted redesign will be the function forcing the form. It is believed that the excellent Nintendo Wi-Fi service will see voice over IP calls between DS users. The machine will look like a cellular telephone because it will be used as one. For around $100 Nintendo hopes to deliver a cracking games machine with full Internet access and free calls to any other user when in-range of any Wi-Fi hotspot.

We expect the new DS hardware to be showcased at this May's E3.



Greg2k 9 Jan 2006 10:19
I would doubt this to be true. Lets not forget the reason Nintendo hasn't supported real communication between DSs (besides Pictochat which, without net access, is simply a gimmick) is to avoid pottential problems with kids and strange men looking for kids, if you know what I mean.

Nintendo wouldn't make any money from a VoIP service and would only give them more problems than benefits. But a third party could easily enable a similar service; looking for compatibility with Skype and Google Talk would be a safe bet.

Then again if this new DS takes off just like the SP did, it could dramatically boost consumer awareness of mobile VoIP. But the system itself would have to be a radically different take on the DS to boost sales. I can't think of any major upgrade to the DS besides a media player that would stop people buying the current model.
OptimusP 9 Jan 2006 13:51
You forget that Nintendo allready showed VoIP software on the DS in closed investors meetings. This is also a good reason why Nintendo hasn't launched a headset with mic yet(you know that hole next to the hole where you jack in headphones? That's for a mic). They're waiting untill that VoIP program is completly done and the possible re-design with it.

When i saw the DS in E3 2004 and heard of its features the first thing i though was that it could be used as a WiFi-using cell-phone if you jacked in a headset.
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Radiant 9 Jan 2006 14:36
I would love it to flick open like a Sidekick revealing the touch screen underneath instead of the Sidekick's keypad.
LordVader717 9 Jan 2006 14:48
Spong keeps saying how the DS needs to be redesigned, but the thing is, there isn't that much that can be done.

You've got a touchscreen in the bottom half, under it a DS-card port and a GBA-card port, and then you've got to find space for the battery and chipsets.
The top is necessary for the clamshell design.
And because the DS screens are already wider than high, there's no way you could get the directional pad and buttons on and still have it resemble a square.

The only thing they might be able to do is make it a bit thinner, but that's about it.

And I doubt Nintendo will try any kind of VoIP functionality, because they won't be able to offer it for free as VoIP requires significant data-throughput compared to gaming.
LordVader717 9 Jan 2006 14:55
BTW, will it be revealed along with the super-powerful-better-than-PSP GBA2 that was scheduled for last year? (I'm soory, I just couldn't restrain myself)
Ditto 9 Jan 2006 20:23
It's rather obvious that the DS will see a redesign, don't you think?

They redesigned the GB, the GBA... Sony redesigned the Playstation, Playstation 2. It's a great extension strategy.

As for what they could do... No GBA port? No ability to plan GBA games? Make the unit smaller, use GB Micro screens, built in rumble pack, different battery...

I don't think Nintendo will do VoIP in a big way, but there's nothing to stop them or an authorised third party doing it. Data throughput wouldn't be an issue either - remember that Nintendo doesn't really have to maintain that much network infrastructure and low-quality VoIP doesn't use that much bandwidth.

I still want to see that GBA2 that plays GC games :(. Much better than the DS... To think, the first console and portable console of the same generation that play the same games.
LUPOS 9 Jan 2006 20:47
you mean besides the turbo graphix and turbo express? ;)
and the nomad technically, but that was late in the life cycle.
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