There are several devices that just hover on the very edge of being a “true” handheld computer, but never quite make it over the line.
Among the most prominent of these are some of the top-of-the-line portable gaming consoles.
These offer a few of the features of typical handhelds, but lack important ones, like PIM, web access, word processing, etc.
But, one of these, the Nintendo DS, has just taken another significant step beyond being just a toy.
Opera, one of the most widely used web browsers in the world, is now available for this device.
As the DS already includes Wi-Fi and a touch-screen, it will be relatively simple for users to surf the web with this application.
Not surprisingly, Opera Software is very enthusiastic about this release.
“Gaming devices are growing more advanced and a great Web experience is becoming a product differentiator for gaming manufacturers,” said Scott Hedrick, Executive Vice President, Opera Software. “Opera is excited to work with Nintendo to deliver a unique dual screen, full Internet experience on Nintendo DS.”
Of course, there are some caveats.
Opera can’t be directly installed on the Nintendo DS. The only way to load an application is to use a DS card.
And, at this point, this card is available only in Japan. Opera refuses to talk about its plans to release it anywhere else in the world.
And the Plans Are…?
Almost since the release of the Nintendo DS, there have been mixed signals as to the direction this platform is going.
Early last year, there were rumors that Nintendo intended to put out a bundle of Palm OS-based PIM applications for it.
And there can be no doubt that this company licensed Zi Corporation’s Decuma handwriting recognition technology last fall, setting off a frenzy of speculation on this company’s plans.
Nevertheless, the exact direction this platform is going still remains in doubt.