It’s hardly a surprising move - after all, Nintendo needs a solid reason to convince current DS owners to ditch their incumbent Lites and upgrade to the shiny new DSi. What better way to do this than offering a media-rich experience that simply isn’t possible on the previous hardware variant?
With this in mind we’ve come up with hypothetical list of non-gaming applications that we’d love to see on DSiWare in the near future.
How on earth did we all cope before being blessed with the ability to check our emails on our mobile? Not a day goes by when a member of the Pocket Gamer team doesn't suffer from withdrawal anxiety after being unable to check Google Mail for five minutes for whatever reason.
While we’re not entirely sure that such technological dependence is necessarily a good thing, it sure feels handy, and losing 24/7 access to Google’s online email service would be like hacking off a vital limb with a rusty breadknife.
With this in mind, rolling out a Google Mail client on DSiWare is practically a no-brainer: it’s already available for free download on most mobile phones, and devices such as the iPhone/iPod touch and T-Mobile G1 link seamlessly with the service.
Being able to access your emails and reply using the DSi’s intuitive virtual keyboard fills us with an excitement that is slightly worrying, if we’re honest.
Wikipedia is arguably one of the greatest applications the internet ever created. It’s helped settle (and possibly ignite) countless debates in pubs up and down the country, offering a one-stop resource for anyone hoping to bring an argument to a close with cold, hard facts.
Wikiamo is an application that has been developed for the iPhone that formats the information on Wikipedia so it’s easier to read on the iPhone’s screen. You can also bookmark certain articles and cache data so you can fill your brain with pointless facts even when you’re not online.
For those of us who lack iPhones or internet-ready mobile phones, being granted access to such digital wisdom via the DSi would be a dream come true and would hopefully help younger users of the machine to finally settle that perennial playground argument about which Pokémon is the most powerful.
Cast your mind back to when the DS first hit the store shelves: one of the biggest selling points was the innovative PictoChat program, which allowed users to wirelessly communicate with each other via text or a series of illegible scribbles.
This potentially groundbreaking tool has sadly been all-but forgotten, but with DSiWare it’s possible that we might once again see Nintendo’s dual-screened wonder emerging as a vital communication device.
Just imagine the streamlined interface of PictoChat combined with complete integration with all the leading instant messaging services, such as Google Chat, MSN and Yahoo Instant Messenger.
While we hardly qualify as experienced programmers, we’d guess that such a piece of software is perfectly possible. Whether or not Nintendo would allow it is another matter entirely, given the company’s traditionally cagey approach to granting its users complete freedom of speech.
Still, here’s hoping…
One thing stands in the way of Nintendo’s objective of marketing the DSi as a thoroughbred multimedia device: for some reason the company allowed the tea lady to decide which audio format the machine would support for the playback of music, and she picked .AAC as opposed to the industry-standard .MP3.
While it could be argued that converting .MP3 music files into .AAC format is a doddle, it would have made so much more sense for Nintendo to allow .MP3 files to be played back by the machine. Still, we’re hoping that an industrious DSiWare programmer will find a way of circumventing such silliness by releasing a more robust media player for the console.
We’re not asking for much - just a wider range of supported file types, a neat playlist generator and the usual embellishments such as album art and a rating system that allows you to single out your favourite tracks.
Oh wait, that’s iTunes, isn’t it? Well, as the saying goes: if you can’t beat ‘em…
And finally, we have this most morbid of applications. While we doubt that Nintendo will be keen to allow such macabre software on its virtual marketplace, it does serve one fundamental purpose - it makes you realise just how much time you willingly
Do you have any ideas for possible DSiWare applications? Let us know via the comments section below