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Android is unofficially coming to the Nintendo Switch (Update: Available now!)

Ever wanted to run emulators and apps on your Switch? Well, Android is now available on Nintendo's handheld console.

Published onJuly 29, 2019

An image of the Nintendo Switch console running an unofficial build of Android.

Update, July 29, 2019 (1:50AM ET): We first reported on a project to bring Android to the Nintendo Switch last month (see original story below), but it’s finally available to download this week. 

According to the announcement on the XDA-Developers forum, the LineageOS 15.1 ROM (based on Shield TV) works in both handheld and docked modes. Developer switchroot notes several major bugs at the moment though, affecting battery life, auto-rotate, charging alerts, and phantom touches. But it’s still rather impressive to see Android available to download on Nintendo’s hybrid console.

The developer even says you can fool the Switch into identifying as an NVIDIA Shield TV, allowing you to install the NVIDIA app and potentially play Shield-exclusive titles. It’s unclear whether these games will run well though, given Nintendo’s reduced clock speed, but the ROM indeed supports CPU/GPU profiles. Then again, you’ll suffer from greatly reduced endurance by increasing clock speeds. You can find all the information and downloads via the button below.

Original article, June 21, 2019 (3:32PM ET): Although there will likely never officially be Nintendo Switch Android support, that hasn’t stopped various modders from making it happen, at least in a bare-bones way. Now, however, it looks like fully-fledged Android is coming to your (hackable) Nintendo Switch sometime soon.

Google is working to bring Nintendo Switch controller support to Chrome

The team over at XDA Developers got a first look at a new Nintendo Switch Android build. The build isn’t public yet as the developer is streamlining the install process, but it will be available soon along with instructions on how to use it.

The Nintendo Switch Android mod runs entirely from the system’s microSD card. This is great news for two reasons. The first reason is that it will prevent Nintendo from banning you from using its services if it discovers you’ve modded your Switch in this fashion since you’re not messing at all with the actual Switch components.

The second — and more exciting — reason is that you don’t have to “break” your Switch to run Android. Instead, you can swap back and forth from using your Switch as it was intended to using it as an Android tablet.

An image of the Nintendo Switch console running an unofficial build of Android.

Another exciting development related to this Nintendo Switch Android breakthrough is that the Nintendo Joy-Cons are supported. That means you can use the Joy-Cons to play Android games as well as emulators, turning your Switch into the retro console of your dreams.

Keep in mind, though, that this is all in very early development and things will not run smoothly at the beginning. For example, popular emulator software RetroArch doesn’t map the Joy-Cons effectively yet (it doubles up on button mappings) and Fortnite doesn’t work, so there are still some hurdles to get over.

There isn’t an ETA yet for when this Nintendo Switch Android mod will be available. To find out the latest news, including the planned launch date, follow the XDA thread below!

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