Though its newest console has barely been on the market six months, Nintendo is struggling. The company shipped around 300,000 Wii U consoles in the first quarter of 2013 and isn't quite where it wants to be financially. According to some, the company is hoping apps will give sales of its consoles a much needed boost.
The Japan Times cites Nintendo sources that say the gaming company is currently trying to modify its game consoles so users can also run smartphone applications. More specifically, the company is said to be offering smartphone application developers "professional-use conversion software" to help them produce smartphone games for the Wii U.
Nintendo is doing its best to convince users that the Wii U is a new and exciting experience. Last week, the company sent out a message to Wii users reminding them that the Wii U is indeed a new console. The message, delivered to internet-connected Wiis, assured users that the Wii U 'is not an upgrade' but 'an entirely new system.' The company has yet to comment on the rumors that it is offering smartphone app developers conversion software so they can create Wii U applications.
That would make the Wii-U compatible with most Android apps that do not require any phone/tablet-specific hardware or use of NDK. Touch can be emulated using Wiimotes and a button.
If Nintendo wants to get mindshare, they have to offer things no other console manufacturer currently plans to offer. The ability to run Android apps could be one of those.
I think people are missing the aim here. The WiiU gamepad does not have multitouch, and does have physical controls. Games designed around multitouch would not work well, but games designed for physical controls would. Mobile games using physical controls is actually an emerging trend pioneered by everything from Moga Pro to NVidia Shield. If they get it out quickly, this could be the most on top of things Nintendo has been for years. This doesn't compete with Apple, it competes with Ouya. Considering the platform I've heard this converts is iOS, there's a lot more games that could be converted than for competing Android solutions. Mobile games nearly always go to Apple first and Droid second.
This would be about the only thing Nintendo can do to save this console. Bribing developers to start designing for another mobile platform, especially one that has so few users is not a viable solution. This method puts Nintendo up against the Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Blackberry markets, all of which are substantially larger. Taking the BB approach of running android app's could be a saving grace, but I don't see Nintendo going this route.