Qualcomm is reportedly developing a portable game console similar to Nintendo Switch powered by Android.
As reported by Android PoliceQualcomm’s portable console features detachable controllers similar to Nintendo’s ‘Joy-Cons’ and resembles a chunky smartphone. The extra thickness should help with thermals, allowing the included Snapdragon system on a chip (SoC) to achieve higher performance levels compared to a similar solution in a typical smartphone design.
It’s worth noting that it’s unclear which SoC Qualcomm plans to use. Android Police reports that Qualcomm intends to launch the device in the first quarter of 2022, which means it could use next year’s Snapdragon flagship processor. Alternatively, Qualcomm can use a custom chip designed specifically for the console. Additionally, the console is reported to include Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometers, haptics, and 5G (albeit via Qualcomm’s older X55 modem). A 6,000 mAh battery will power the device and the console will support Qualcomm fast charging. The console would have no telephone functions.
Like the Switch, the Qualcomm console will support viewing on a monitor or television. It is unclear if it will use USB-C for this or if it will include a dedicated port like mini-HDMI. On top of that, the console will have an SD card slot to expand the storage. Android Police The source said Qualcomm partnered with a premium vendor in the controller space to make the gamepads for the console. However, the publication did not know the name of the company.
It could support apps from Google Play, maybe even the Epic Games Store
Additionally, Qualcomm’s console will run Android 12 with a custom launcher, which includes full support for Google Play applications and services. Curiously, Android Police reports that the console could include the Epic Games Store app, as well as Qualcomm’s own content portal. However, it is unclear if Qualcomm plans to work with game streaming providers, such as Google Stadia or Microsoft xCloud (although presumably those Android apps would run on the device).
It is also worth noting what Android Police you don’t know the device. The publication learned the details from a source familiar with Qualcomm’s strategy and was able to view (but not share) non-final images of the console. Android Police says the dimensions of the console were not shared with them, nor was the size of the screen. It’s also unclear if Qualcomm plans to offer a Wi-Fi-only variant of the device.
Finally, Qualcomm reportedly plans to sell the console directly to customers, as well as work with partner carriers in the US It’s unclear if Qualcomm would also work with Canadian carriers.
Qualcomm’s console could be a reference device instead
I heard that Qualcomm was working on a reference design for a Switch-type console, but it wasn’t clear that it would end up as a consumer device. https://t.co/LUlg47ndlK
– Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) March 23, 2021
Curiously, Android Police notes that Qualcomm wants to inspire partners to explore new form factors. XDA Developers Mishaal Rahman tweeted that his sources said Qualcomm was working on a Switch-like reference device. Third-party manufacturers could use that reference design to build their own products. Rahman’s source did not indicate that the Qualcomm console would be available to consumers.
Regardless, the console is at least a year away. A lot could happen in that time, and Qualcomm could get rid of the project entirely. That said, a Switch-like gaming device powered by Android could be a great option for tinkering enthusiasts as it could offer a great foundation for developing emulators, taking advantage of game streaming services, and more.
Source: Android Police