Sunday, December 14, 2008

Read books on the Nintendo DS

Nintendo and Harper Collins are working on an e-book reader cartridge for the Nintendo DS. And they're using the free Project Gutenberg books to do it.

There are several things to be excited about here:
- The Nintendo DS is a neat gadget, and every time I look at my son's, I want it to be able to do more than just play games.
- This project involved dropping a simple reader app and 100 free classics onto a cartridge. That's a great idea that gets around the lack of ways to copy info onto the DS.
- It sparks a related idea: there are systems you can buy to write your own DS content. I believe there's a cartridge you can buy that takes a rewritable memory card. It would not be hard to write a reader app for text files; so a homebrew project like this would be doable, and that would make the DS into a pocket reader for any files on a SD-like card. That would be useful.
However, it's probably not enough to get me to shell out money for a system like that. My impression is that I'd be spending about $100 to get going on homebrewing DS stuff. Which my son would love, but I recognize that I'm unlikely to find the time to write much in the way of games. Maybe I should be thinking about this and some other applications for it. I can certainly find the time to adapt someone's text reader, maybe add a few other readers, to make a more general file-viewing application. Heck, I want that on my phone.


  1. Neat! This reminds me of a commercial I saw recently for the DS. One of the women from the show Friends was using a Nintendo DS with a little girl to cook something. The DS was showing the recipe and a little cartoon chef down in the corner who was explaining what they had to do.

    This looks like a similar attempt to broaden the DS market and it could be successful. Presumably this cookbook software is easier to write than a game. And having it on the DS lets you take it into the kitchen without using much counter space.

  2. Ok, I was uninformed. There are simple cartridge systems that can read text files etc on memory cards, already, no need to brew your own, and a quick search seems to indicate that you can get these for around $30.