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Qualcomm is reportedly developing a Switch-like Android gaming device

Qualcomm is reportedly working on an Android-powered, handheld game console similar to a Nintendo Switch, according to Android Police and XDAeditor-in-chief Mishaal Rahman. The device will be powered by Qualcomm’s silicon, and may hit store shelves next year – if it’s a real product at all.

According to the article, which quotes photos seen by Android Police, the device will have detachable, Joy-Con-like controllers, an SD card slot, Android 12 and (of course) 5G. Also noted, and confirmed by Rahman, is a large 6000 mAh battery. While the physical dimensions are not clear, Rahman tweeted that the screen could be 6.65-inch, with a resolution of at least 1

080p (the Switch’s screen is 6.2-inch and runs at 720p). He also suggested that it could have a fan.

In other words, the device sounds like a big smartphone with connected controllers and active cooling, although that may not be a bad thing – the Switch also looks like a giant phone. But it also has a library of great games that only it can play, which is the biggest draw. While there are many great gaming experiences to get on Android, from retro emulators to games like Fortnite and Genshin Impact, Qualcomm needs to give customers a reason to play these games on a separate device, instead of on their Qualcomm Snapdragon powered gaming phones with built-in buttons or controller accessories (or on their regular phones).

Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate

The ROG Phone 5 Ultimate with a control accessory.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

Or at least it will do so if it tries to sell the device to people – it Android Police The article indicates that Qualcomm does not want it to be commercially available, potentially in carrier stores. It also states 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).

However, Rahman notes that his source believed that the product was closer to a reference design than something that would ever see the store shelves. Chipmakers, including Qualcomm, often build test units to help other manufacturers design their SOCs or radios. Sometimes these reference products even end up being sold by other companies under different brands, known as whitelabeling.

It is worth noting that the disagreement between the sources may be due to uncertainty from Qualcomm itself – AP believes this project is almost a year from being completed, so the company may not yet know for sure what it wants this to be.

Whether the device ends up as a product or not (it can easily be canceled before it is announced), it seems that Qualcomm is actually designing and building a dedicated Android gaming device. It’s understandable why the company would look at the handheld gaming market: it’s been heated since Nvidia’s handheld shield idea became the Nintendo Switch, with powerful gaming phones, Windows PCs with switch-like form factors and a variety of mods, classic handheld redesign, and new pocket gaming systems.

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