Splortch is funny because its the sound that something makes when it sinks into a mug of café.
I think your 3DS argument is spot on. The 3DS is aligned with their current core vision, and since it's almost last gen (as compared to portable PS products, not as compared to the usual portable Nintendo line) your point is very good. About the core, let me be more specific. Nintendo is going after the real core, not the Nintendo core. That's why they're looking to snag Rockstart games like GTA, which are very popular in that segment. That market is very important to them, as it is a very vocal crowd, and indicates the general coolness of a console (not its popularity mind you, but its popularity for a very vocal segment). As for Cafe, I believe its development began 2 years after 3DS, and so its vision is even more aligned with the aggressive core stance we learnt about. Then again, I'm basing myself off vision, and not off blueprints, so that's where I'm limited. But at least, my predictions are based on something for the most part, so I can stand on that for the time being.
Nintendo may not be the place to go for core or serious gamers immediately, but the direction is right, and they are a 20-year vision company (they've always said it), so I don't see a lost objective if they become a viable platform for core gamers within 2 or even 3 generations.
To be fair, I would really love Nintendo to be the center of gaming again. Despite their cruelty to 3rd party companies on the NES, the industry thrived incredibly when the primary systems for all types of games were the NES and SNES (yes, the SNES shared that glory with Genesis).
But I think they've been too long out of the mindsets of hardcore gamers. I know that, myself, as a hardcore gamer, I found my Nintendo love wane immensely as I realized that the stuff I always want to play is on the Xbox360. There was a reason I loved the GameCube, and that was because it was such a hardcore gamer system. It had 3rd party support, it had multi-platform games, and hell, it even had excellent Dreamcast hold-overs like Ikaruga and Skies of Arcadia.
The systems where sales and survival were overly dependent on Nintendo's core fanbase have never been favorites to me. The N64 was the first time I purchased a non-Nintendo system (the Playstation), and this generation, besides my general game collecting hobby exploding, I pretty much abandoned the Wii for my Xbox360. The Wii was dependent on casual money and Nintendo fans, as evidence by an obscene plethora of Mario games. Cthulhu forbid they make something other than Mario for once. They have RPG's and adventure games in their past. Like Star Tropics and Mother/Earthbound. Do they really need to fill that genre with more Mario stuff? Seriously.
But we'll see. Strong, though unproven rumors about the power of Cafe are one thing. E3 will be another entirely. If they really want core gamers and to jump-start the next generation, they can't be making a Playstation 3.1--they need to make a Playstation 4--before Sony makes a Playstation 4 (this is an analogy, by the way--I don't really expect Nintendo to make a system called Playstation. I know, it should be obvious, but I'm sure you know how people on the internet are).
I'm pessimistic on Project Cafe right now, but I'm still a Nintendo fan and eager as hell for E3.