Artist-rendered Smart Boy device predicts Nintendo’s mobile future

Artist Pierre Cerveau has outlined a concept for a Nintendo-produced smartphone, tantalizing fans by melding Nintendo’s design aesthetic with a mobile operating system.

While the “Nintendo Smart Boy” is unfortunately a work of fiction, it offers a number of surprisingly viable features, and presents an intriguing what-if scenario involving Nintendo’s recently-announced entry into the mobile marketplace.

The Nintendo Smart Boy is apparently built with gaming in mind, as Cerveau designed an accompanying “Game Bat” peripheral. The Game Bat attaches to the bottom of the unit, equipping players with four face buttons, a d-pad, and an analog thumbstick. A mockup features a screenshot of New Super Mario Bros. U, suggesting that the device would boast hardware comparable in power to Nintendo’s Wii U console.

In a nod to Nintendo’s cartridge-based portable past, the Nintendo Smart Boy also supports a series of interchangeable modules that add new features dictated by user preference. One cartridge might contain an external battery, allowing for longer play sessions. Cerveau also envisions a memory expansion that adds 128 gigabytes of external storage and a 13-megapixel camera that takes sterographic photos. The idea is reminiscent of other recent modular phone concepts from the likes of Google and Vsenn.

Another cute touch is an “8-bit mode” that acts as a power saver, reducing system menus to a green-and-black color scheme reminiscent of the original Game Boy.

While Nintendo is unlikely to produce its own smartphone or tablet in the near future, the company recently partnered with mobile publisher DeNA for an upcoming series of apps starring Nintendo-licensed characters. DeNA’s first Nintendo-licensed game is due to launch later this year, with four additional games set to arrive by April 2017. Nintendo is also developing a new gaming platform concept currently called NX, promising a 2016 reveal. The company has been very secretive about the nature of NX, so this is as good a guess as any as to what the device might look like.

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