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New Nintendo 3DS = eReader?

From the “My toaster is not an eBook reader…yet” files: Nintendo’s new 3DS could be launched with eReader capabilities. The UK Blog Electricpig [2] has an article about the recently announced Nintendo 3DS handheld unit that Nintendo executives are suggesting will also act as an e-reader. Though similar to the DSi XL’s e-reader functionality [3] that is provided via a game cartridge called “100 Classic Books,” the Nintendo executives hinted that the 3DS would be able to access literature wirelessly, using newspapers and magazines as examples. Though no release date is available yet for the 3DS, the DSi XL cartridge is available for purchase from most retailers.

It’s interesting to see how some opinions change in the industry. Back in February, a Nintendo executive dismissed the idea that the DSi XL cartridge was the first steps of Nintendo entering the e-reader world, but the hinted at functions for the 3DS make it sound like they’re taking things more seriously. The fact that more companies are looking into this technology space continues to hint at the increasing commoditizing of e-reader technology and functionality. I expect the 3DS to have some kind of method to receive documents/books wirelessly and by cartridge, but don’t expect Nintendo to launch an online bookstore like other e-reader retailers (e.g. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders). That would be significantly outside of Nintendo’s core competence, though they are beginning to gain some competency in those kinds of services through their online store for the Wii.

What do you think about having a handheld like the 3DS be an e-reader? Do you think people will use the functionality or will it miss the mark?