In this Kotaku editorial, The Nintendo 3DS Is The Anti-Game Boy, the author asserts that 3DS is built with extra components -- more components than are necessary to play games -- making it more than just the utilitarian handheld console that the Game Boy was.
The 3DS boasts a plethora of features beyond simple gaming. It can do augmented reality, it has a 3D camera, it can trade data with other 3DS owners players pass on the street. The bells and whistles on the 3DS are actually the most un-Nintendo thing about the product. This is a company who did not put a DVD player in the Wii, because it thought people should only play video games on it. Yet, the 3DS lets gamers view streaming television and movies, all in 3D.
I initially poo-pooed both DS and Wii when they first came out. I think DS is among my favorite consoles ever, and I play Wii almost every day. I'm not underestimating anything Nintendo's coming up with anymore.