I don't think they're backpedaling. They physically couldn't make GameCube backwards compatible, because the previous machine was cart-based. I think Revolution was always going to be backwards compatible. They've also kept a very strict policy of only going online if it could be done for free, and until they had the wi-fi tech, they couldn't do it.
I came up with this theory... I talked to someone else and apparently I'm not the only one... Nintendo is stressing that developing games for Revolution should be easy for a huge company trying to make a masterpiece, or a single guy with a good idea. Then they talk about this database where you can download games from Nintendo's entire history.
What if they release Dev kits to the public, so you can program your own game from your livingroom, and then upload it to this database, and have other people play your game? A whole indie developer's community would pop up! It would, in no small ways, be a revolution!
I'm officially 10x more exited than I was 2 days ago.