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Nintendo Won't Turn to Smartphones for Help (Update 1)

Updated from 10:11 a.m. to include comments from Nintendo.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Japanese gaming giant Nintendo announced it has no plans to use smartphones to help boost sales of its Wii U devices.

According to a Nikkei Business Daily report, Nintendo was planning to take advantage of the ever-increasing global reach of smartphones to promote its gaming platform. Nikkei said the company was plannbing use iOS and Android mobile handsets to help boost its sagging standalone gaming products. The report said Nintendo may even allow gamers to purchase software for its 3DS and Wii U devices via their smartphones.

Earlier today, Nintendo told Engadget it denied those plans:

"Nikkei's article contains information previously stated by Mr. Iwata during past press conferences, including statements which relate to Nintendo's willingness to make use of smart devices to promote our products. However during such past announcements Mr Iwata has also stated that Nintendo's intention is not to make Nintendo software available on smart devices and as such, we can confirm that there are no plans to offer minigames on smartphone devices."

Nintendo's philosophy has always been that it's games are best experienced on Nintendo hardware. Although company president Satoru Iwata recently acknowledged there's a big problem with Wii U sales he said  he hopes to keep the device in the sales loop for awhile longer. Using the smartphones; global popularity as a marketing tool could help

January hasn't been a good month for Nintendo. Following its third-quarter loss, the company's stock, traded over-the-counter, fell 18% to $14.84 before bouncing back at the end of last week to a high of $16.36.

Nintendo's philosophy has always been that its games are best experienced on Nintendo hardware. But President Satoru Iwata recently acknowledged there's a big problem with Wii U sales. He said he hopes to keep the device in the loop for awhile longer. Using modern-day smartphones' global popularity as a marketing tool could help.

That popularity is officially growing by leaps and bounds. According to two analysis firms, smartphones just completed their best year ever. IDC reported that by its count, for the first time ever, more than 1 billion smartphones were shipped globally in 2013. Strategy Analytics, disagreed, however. It believes smartphones sales totaled 990 million out of a total 1.7 billion mobile devices moved last year.

IDC said smartphones accounted for 55.1% of all mobile phone shipments last year, up from the 41.7% of all mobile phone shipments in 2012. The big winners were Samsung with a 31.3% share of the worldwide market, followed by Apple (AAPL - Get Report) (15.3%), Huawei (4.9%), LG (4.,8%) and Lenovo (4.5%).



Lenovo actually edged out LG in fourth-quarter market share. That's despite the fact that Lenovo is not yet selling its handsets in North America.

Strategy Analytics reported total smartphone shipments rose 41% annually with Samsung (319.8 million units) and Apple (153.4 million) accounting for "almost half of all smartphones shipped worldwide in the past year.

Nintendo is expected to announce details of its smartphone marketing plans during an investor briefing scheduled for Thursday.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

To submit a news tip, send an email to tips@thestreet.com.

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