There are several devices that hover just at the edge of being a PDA, but never quite make it.
Among the most prominent of these are some of the top-of-the-line portable gaming consoles.
One of these, the Nintendo DS, just took an important step toward becoming a PDA, and not just a toy.
Currently, anyone who wants to enter text on this device must pick letters out on an on-screen keyboard. Yesterday, however, Nintendo announced that it is licensing Zi Corporation’s Decuma handwriting recognition technology.
This will allow users to enter text much more easily on the DS’s touchscreen.
Users of Sony’s last Clies should be familiar with Decuma, as it was integrated into these handhelds.
And the Plans Are…?
Unfortunately, Nintendo didn’t give any specifics on what it plans to do with this text-entry system.
The announcement simply says, “Under the agreement, Nintendo DS developers can employ Zi’s Decuma handwriting recognition technology while creating software for the Nintendo DS handheld video game system.”
An obvious use for it is in a future of version on PictoChat, the DS’s instant messaging software.
But it could also be used in a word processor or email application, if developers decided to create these.
Maybe, Maybe Not
There have been rumors in the past that Nintendo itself was planning to re-position the DS as a more professionally-oriented device by releasing a suite of PIM applications for it.
Obviously, so far, none of these rumors have proved to be true.
Tapwave’s Zodiac handhelds, which offered both gaming and business functions, were not financially successful and the company has since gone out of business.
The Nintendo DS, on the other hand, is far better known than the Zodiac ever was, and it would have a greater chance of financial success if Nintendo attempted to do the same thing Tapwave did.