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Nintendo: Our DSi is not an iPod Competitor

Nintendo is bringing its wildly popular DSi handheld to North America on April 5th. With two cameras and the ability to store and play music, some may think the device is trying to compete with Apple's iPod or even mobile phones. However, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata says that is simply not the case.

In a conversation with Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, Iwata brings up the DSi, and why some think it’s trying to compete with music players and cell phones. "When you try to do something new, objections are sure to appear," said Iwata. "Preconceived notions regarding features such as cameras and music players have become entrenched because of existing products, so when you try to explain something new, it can be next to impossible with words alone to draw a distinction with previous products." Miyamoto agrees, saying the final product, the DSi itself, is completely different from the offerings it’s compared to.

Iwata and Miyamoto may be reiterating the obvious to some. However, Iwata also touches on the fact that whenever a competition angle can be exploited in the tech industry, it always is. "Nintendo doesn’t have any intention of directly competing with existing products," said Iwata, "but the mass media has a tendency to portray everything as a rivalry between opposing companies."

The cell phone comparison may be a stretch, but there is no doubt that Nintendo put a lot of effort into the music functionality of the DSi. In the same discussion as quoted above, Iwata touches on how the DSi utilizes the two screens and touchscreen functionality to better organize your music. Iwata also explains how the user can make playlists based on favorite songs. With those kinds of features, saying that the DSi won't be a competitor in the digital music sector is simply not true. People may not be trading their iPods in for a DSi anytime soon, but if you want some music to listen to while on the subway, why bring two devices when you can play MarioKart and Zeppelin on one?

If Nintendo is facing any competition, it may be from Sony. The company has yet to deny any rumors regarding a new UMD-free PSP.