Qualcomm is reportedly working on an Android-powered handheld console similar to a Nintendo Switch, According to Android Police and XDAsay editor-in-chief Mishaal Rahman. The device is powered by Qualcomm’s silicone and could hit store shelves next year – if it’s a real product at all.
According to the article, which quotes the images seen Android Police, the device will include removable, Joy-Con-like controllers, an SD card slot, Android 12 and (of course) 5G. Also noted, and substantiated by Rahman, is a whopping 6,000 mAh battery. Although the physical dimensions are not clear, Rahman tweeted that the screen could be 6.65 inches, with a resolution of at least 1080p (the switch’s screen is 6.2 inches and runs at 720p). He also indicated that it may have a fan.
In other words, the device sounds like a big smartphone with attached controllers and active cooling, though that may not be a bad thing – the Switch also looks like a giant phone. But it also has a library with great games that only he can play, which is the biggest attraction. Although there are many great gaming experiences on Android, from retro emulators to games like Fortnite and Genshin Impact, Qualcomm will need to give customers a reason why they should play the games on a separate device, rather than on their Qualcomm Snapdragon powered game phones with built-in buttons or controller accessories (or on their regular phones).
Or, at least, if it’s trying to sell the device to people – the Android Police article indicates that Qualcomm does want it to be commercially available, possibly in transportation companies. It also says that the price target for the device is $ 300, the same as a full size switch. Currently, the cheapest phone I found with Qualcomm’s flagship 888 processor, the Realme GT 5G, costs about $ 430 (and is only sold in China).
But, Rahman remarks that his source believed that the product was closer to a reference design than something that would ever see store shelves. Chipmakers, including Qualcomm, often build sample devices to help other manufacturers design their SOCs or radios. Sometimes these reference products are even sold by other companies under different brands, known as white brand.
It is noteworthy that the disagreement between the sources may be due to the uncertainty of Qualcomm itself – AP believes that this project is almost a year after it is completed, so the company does not yet know for sure what it wants it to become.
Whether the device ends up as a product or not (it can be easily canceled before it goes public), it looks like Qualcomm is actually designing and building a dedicated Android gaming device. This is understandable why the company will approach the handheld gaming market: it’s started to rise since Nvidia’s handheld Shield idea turned into the Nintendo Switch, with powerful powerphones, Windows computers with switch-like form factors, and a variety of mods, classic redesigns the hand, and latest pocket game systems.