Nintendo hasn't been doing all that well lately, which meant a lot more people than usual were interested in what Nintendo President Satoru Iwata had to say at the company's Q3 investor's briefing (which took place yesterday evening). Most of the more wild predictions didn't come true -- Nintendo isn't going third party, it's not dumping the Wii U, and you won't be able to play Super Mario Bros. on your phone tomorrow.
That said, Iwata did open the door to Nintendo making content for smartphones. No specifics were given, but it sounds like Nintendo won't be focusing on games, but instead various Nintendo-themed apps. I'm sure we'll see basic stuff like Mario and Zelda wallpapers and a smartphone version of the Nintendo eShop, but what if Nintendo got a little more ambitious? Here are some app ideas that would almost surely grab Nintendo some quick cash and attention...
Game Boy Camera
Smartphone users seem to have an insatiable appetite for Instagram-like "take a photo and slap a filter on it" apps. so Nintendo should get in the game by reviving the Game Boy Camera.
It could come with both "Classic" and "New" modes -- Classic would have the exact same features as the original Game Boy Camera, including it's ridiculously low resolution and lack of color, while the New mode would be a more modern Instagram-like app that lets you add wacky Nintendo stamps to your photos and whatnot. Nintendo could then let people export their Game Boy Camera pics to the 3DS so they could view them in 3D and maybe utilize them in various games.
Another no-brainer. Surprisingly, there aren't really that many great art programs on smartphones at the moment -- a mobile version of Mario Paint will fill a fun void. Nintendo wouldn't even really have to update the game much -- I'd download it for the music composer alone. Once again, Nintendo could give users the option to create 3D images that could only be viewed by exporting to the 3DS.
Shazam-like Video Game Identifier
The number of people who actually play Nintendo games may be dwindling, but everyone sure does like to reference them -- Nintendo should create a magic Shazam-like app that lets somebody hold up their phone and identify where that bit of pixel art originated, or what game that melody is from. And hey, once the game is identified, a nice big "This game is available to play on the Wii U/3DS Virtual Console!" message can pop up. Nintendo could even give discounts to people who first identified a game using their phone.
Nintendo Comics System
Seemingly half the fan art on the Internet involves Nintendo's cast of characters -- it's time Nintendo took advantage of all this love by reviving the Nintendo Comics System. Allow people to submit their fan art and comics via the Nintendo Comics System app, then after a quick scan to make sure it's not porn, it goes up for the world to see. Fans can vote up their favorites, and under every Mario/Zelda/Pokemon comic, there's a link to the smartphone version of the eShop where you can buy those games for your Wii U or 3DS.
Tom Nook's To-Do List
If half the apps on smartphones are Instagram rip-offs, the other half are virtual to-do lists. Unfortunately these list are usually just as easy to ignore as the old-fashioned paper kind, but what if you had the various jerky authority figures from Animal Crossing keeping you on track? Would you miss your bill payments if that evil raccoon Tom Nook were giving you the stink-eye? You certainly wouldn't forget your anniversary if Mr. Resetti was shouting at you about it daily.
Streetpass is a 3DS feature that sounds fun in theory, but most people don't really get to take advantage of. For non-3DS owners, Streetpass lets you trade Miis, information and other fun stuff with people you happen to pass on the street, but the catch is, you have to pass within about 30-feet of them, and there's no way to know if anyone around you is packing their 3DS -- it's essentially random. If 3DS owners could register with a smartphone app, which they could turn on or off depending on whether they were carrying their system, the whole Streetpass thing would be a lot more usable.
So, there's some suggestions from a guy who knows a lot about Nintendo, but is only moderately knowledgeable about smartphones. Got any ideas of your own? I'd love to hear from the other side -- what do heavy smartphone users who don't really play Nintendo games anymore want?