Gaming phones have usurped a major share in the market of handheld gaming devices. While brands like ASUS have gone as far as making gaming phones like the ROG Phone 5 that offer functionality similar to a gaming console, the Nintendo Switch has still stood at the top. Its ability to be used both as a handheld gaming device or a dedicated console that can be hooked up to a bigger screen has made it immensely popular. While an upgraded Nintendo Switch is set to arrive later this year, chipmaker Qualcomm is also reported to be working on its own gaming console with a Snapdragon chipset and running a modified version of Android 12.
A report earlier this week revealed that chipmaker Qualcomm has envisioned a handheld gaming console with functionality similar to the Nintendo Switch. It is even suggested to come with detachable controllers like Nintendo’s Joy-Con. While the onboard chipset has not been confirmed yet, Qualcomm’s console could come with 5G connectivity, Quick Charge support, a beefy 6,000mAh battery, and SD card support.
If it does see the light of the day next year, it could run on Android 12. Running on top of Android, the gaming console is said to feature a custom launcher tailored for games and may even include the Epic Games launcher for easy access to Fortnite. The console is expected to be priced under $300, making it unlikely a flagship Snapdragon 800 series chipset will be packed under-the-hood.
If Qualcomm plunges into the portable gaming console segment, we may see a viable alternative to the Nintendo Switch for reasons other than price. The NVIDIA Tegra chip that powers the Switch is old and has a relatively underpowered CPU even compared to most mid-range Qualcomm SoCs. Therefore, Qualcomm’s expertise as a chipset manufacturer can help it offer higher performance than the Nintendo Switch and the Switch Lite for a lower price.
The biggest issue, of course, is the difference in size between Android’s and Nintendo’s gaming libraries. The number of AAA games available on the Switch — both from Nintendo and from third-party studios — far exceeds the number of titles available on Android. Still, the number of high-quality games on Android is growing with recent additions like Final Fantasy VIII: Remastered, Genshin Impact, and Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated. Android is also a far more capable platform for retro console emulation, which is admittedly niche but has a growing number of fans.
What do you think of this news? Would you at all be interested in buying this product once it comes out? Will Qualcomm’s entry spur interest in developing or porting AAA titles to Android? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Featured image: Nintendo Switch running an Android 10 port