Although this patent was originally filed last October, it has only come to light today that Nintendo has filed a new patent for a handheld which has swappable buttons as its main feature. A few details have come to light as a result of the patent; however, Nintendo has not shared any details on this project.
Background and Summary:
An information processing device such as a game machine or a mobile phone is provided with an operation unit with one or more buttons, switches or the like for accepting operation by a user. A game machine, for example, is provided with a cross key, an analog stick, an operational push button or the like, to accept operation concerning a movement or an action of a character in a game, or operation concerning various games such as operation for selecting a menu. Furthermore, a mobile phone is, for example, provided with an operational push button on which a number, a letter or the like is written, and with a directional key or an analog stick for, e.g., four or eight directions, to accept operation concerning speaking, electronic mail transmission/reception or the like.
Obviously patents do not always mean that the product will be produced and sold, but it is an indicator that Nintendo is interested in this swappable technology.