Nintendo patent could show rumble system for NX, smartphones, or maybe even both

A newly published patent application for Nintendo shows the company is interested in new ways to provide haptic feedback in a portable device. Given the preponderance of portable-related patents recently, it would be easy enough to load this one onto the Nintendo NX hype train and let it roll. But some of the illustrations indicate another potential use.

The patent (which was published in the US on June 30, but was filed on December 3, 2015 in the US and way back in December 26, 2014 in Japan) is for a handheld "information processing apparatus" with a vibrator between two speakers. No, not that kind of vibrator. The speakers can be used to emit stereo sound and the vibrator can work in concert or independently of them to make a more convincing feeling of movement than the now-standard "rumble".

The patent includes images of both a system with a touchscreen interface and on-screen buttons, basically looking like a smartphone, and a more traditional handheld that resembles the bottom half of a 3DS. The patent is specifically about that speaker-and-vibrator combo so these images are just used to show how it would work in a variety of formats. In other words, don't expect any of the illustrations to be indicative of what the NX controller or perhaps even a Nintendo-designed smartphone could look like.

Then again, it could always be both! If NX turned out to be a high-powered smartphone (maybe running Android, as the old rumors say) that could play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on your TV, that would be a very Nintendoian way to address the "nobody buys handhelds because everybody plays games on mobile devices" problem.

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Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.