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16 November, 1999 2.22pm pst | Perception Edition
New BeOS WebPad Platform Adopted For Pokémon
Pokemon and BeOS

BE DOPE NEWS (BDN) Live from Comdex, the first big news of the day was Be Inc.'s announcement that they are working with National Semiconductor on a new Internet Appliance platform. Be showed off "Stinger" - a specialized version of BeOS - running on a "WebPad" appliance - a notebook-sized device with a touch screen and wireless connection to the Internet. Just hours later, Be officials were swarmed by the media when Nintendo announced they would be adopting the Stinger/Webpad platform for their next product: digital Pokémon trading cards.

"The non-digital trading cards have several limitations," explained a Nintendo official. "Kids can only carry a few thousand to school at a time. Plus, they have to be close to each other to carry out trades and battle. The new digital cards solve these problems."

Under the new system, collectors can store up to seven million cards per device. The Two Fish encryption method will protect against digital forgeries. The multimedia nature of BeOS was a key factor in the decision to go with Stinger. According to Nintendo officials, the new digital cards will deliver animation, sound and other "rich media content".

Users of the "PokéPad" can conduct Pokémon transactions from across the room, circumventing the recent crackdown by teachers on the popular cards. Plus, a quick connection to the Internet opens up collectors to a global Pokémon community.

Rumors of "secret" movie files that will play only when you have collected enough cards are already running rampant on the Internet.

Nintendo plans to give the device away for little to no cost, knowing full well that kids will sell their grandmother's kidney machine on eBay to keep up with the latest digital Pokémon cards. Possible plans exist for dropping them by parachute into remote areas.

By eliminating manufacturing and distribution costs associated with non-digital media, Nintendo can greatly increase the rate at which new, highly collectible, Pokémon cards are issued.

The digital cards themselves will be available for purchase and download via the Internet, or through a network of kiosks located in grocery stores, department stores and other locations difficult for parents to avoid.


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