Talk about missed opportunities: after a lot of expectation, the Opera web browser for the Nintendo DS is finally out in the US, and the initial response isn’t so great. Top gamer blog Destructoid gave it a pan, irked by its consistent difficulty of use (”Pure frustration ensued and I nearly threw the DS out the window”), while Joystiq’s take is decidedly middling (”the U.S. browser is just as crippled as the [EU and Japanese version and]… doesn’t offer anything revolutionary.”)
This reception definitely crimps my initial reaction: when it was announced last year, I thought the DS could end up becoming the world’s dominant PDA without even trying.
Think of it: there’s close to 50 million of them out there already, and it’s forecast to be in an astounding 9 of 10 Japanese households in a few years. Jessica Alba is a fan, for God’s sake. With the DS’s stylus interface, an intuitive, full-featured Opera would become standard to an already huge install base, and since it’s so much cheaper than most PDAs, appeal to many who wouldn’t otherwise consider getting a DS. But all that’s to one side now. Unless Nintendo can come out with a greatly improved version, I wouldn’t bet on that. I’ll give it a hands-on shot, but I suspect my DS will gather dust until there’s a sequel to Dual Strike.