The Nokia N-Gage failed to set the world alight, but had a Nintendo skunkworks R&D team had their way we could've seen a very different outcome. According to Pocket Gamer's development source, at around the same time that Nokia was working on the N-Gage, an R&D collaboration between the Finns and Nintendo saw a Nintendo phone concept prepared for executive approval. However, the Nintendo board of directors failed to greenlight production.
"You have to remember Nintendo is a very conservative company. It always has various R&D projects on the go, but most of them are eventually rejected. It's just how it operates." Anonymous Nintendo source
It's unknown exactly what form the Nintendo phone might have taken. The N-Gage was known for its distinctive taco shape (which demanded side-talking with the first-generation hardware) but had a relatively low resolution color display. It was released at a time when mobile data access was considerably slower than the connections available today, too.
Now, Nintendo has the new CrossPass WiFi system - which intelligently uses access points and ad-hoc connections - for the 3DS, designed to maximise the amount of network connectivity for the handheld. However, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has said that integrated 3G is not something the company is considering, citing monthly subscription fees as the primary hurdle.
[via My Nokia Blog]