Releasing the Wii U 2 years earlier would have put it in the same damn position it's in now. No more 3rd party support once the PS360 are dead. Being a mid generation console is the worst thing you can do. It's a terrible idea and anyone asking for it is asking for Nintendo to continue to piss away market share.
The Wii was lucky to have been supported mostly on the back of First party software alone, it's not working for the Wii U.
To release mid generation consoles, that are guaranteed to loose support when the new platforms hit, to release a 99 dollar iOS like device, that is guaranteed to not get any 3rd party support to begin with, are all bad ideas. Ideas that will continue to see the reserves drained, 3rd parties just not dealing with them at all, and the mass market ignoring them.
The Wii U is a mid generation console basically. Power of the previous generation, and some feature sets of the next. It's not working out for them now, and duplicating that won't work out for them in the future.
Enough with downplaying the importance of third parties. The mass market wants third parties, the mass market wants a box that can play ACV, GTAVI, and The Next Arkham game.
A box that can get all of the 3rd party releases, a long with being able to run all of that gens engines, AND have Nintendo's stable of 1st party releases is what Nintendo needs to release. It's what would put them back on top.
Imagine if the Wii U had been competitive spec wise, that it could handle UE4 just as well as the PS4 could. Then instead of being people's secondary, it could be MOST people's first.
Yes I agree not all 3 consoles need to be doing the same thing, that said though the hardware parity needs to at least be there for 3rd party titles. Let the 1st party software be fresh, and new and that part that your competition just can't do. The hardware though has to come at least close to the other 2 for the 3rd parties.
I'm sorry but I don't think a console that is 2 - 3 years early to the next gen party, or a 99 cheapo system is going to make anyway stand up and NEED to buy it.
I'm not saying the Wii U needed to match the PS4's specs perfectly, but it needed to be closer. I love my Wii U, and the gamepad brings some interesting ideas to the party. Unfortunately there's not enough of me or those with my tastes to support a console. Right now the market is very much the opposite of that. Releasing a mid generation console, a 99 dollar box is not listening to that market. The success so far of the PS4 and XB1 with their pretty shit poor launch line ups speaks volumes sadly about that. Before anyone makes any claims, I bought a PS4 at launch and I still haven't bought a single fucking game for it.