It is difficult to imagine anyone who has not yet used an emulator to play Nintendo games, and Nintendo itself looks like it wants a piece of that action. The US Patents and Trademarks Office published a patent filing from the Japanese game company for an invention that allows the emulation of its games on other platforms like smartphones.
Admittedly, it sounds strange that Nintendo would have to file for a patent to do this sort of thing that has been going on for at least the last decade. However, it could be that the company has finally realised just how popular its old games still are and is taking steps to ensure that people are able to play them. This move would also be in line with its plans to diversify away from the Wii U and 3DS systems that Nintendo has cornered itself into.
The Patent itself outlines the potential for emulators to be deployed on low powered systems like seat-back displays on planes, besides the obvious applications on smartphones and tablets. This could indicate plans to provide Nintendo games as entertainment on flights, but that would present its own set of problems like providing controllers to passengers.
This filing would allow Nintendo to issue takedown requests to emulators on smartphones platforms where they still exist; namely Windows Phone and Android. iOS already prevents emulators from being listed on the App Store. It could also open the way for Nintendo to put its own official emulator app out, and a provide a legal way for fans of older Game Boy titles to get their fix on a mobile platform.