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Qualcomm reportedly plans a Nintendo Switch clone based on Android

The handheld would even support the Epic Games Store.

Published onMarch 23, 2021

PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch 11
  • Qualcomm is reportedly making an Android-based console similar to the Nintendo Switch.
  • It would include detachable controllers and output to a TV, and might even come with the Epic Games Store.
  • A launch is tentatively slated for the first quarter of 2022 for around $300.

Do you want a console like the Nintendo Switch with the flexibility of Android? You might get your wish. An Android Police source claims Qualcomm is developing a Switch-like gaming handheld that would sell to the public — it wouldn’t just be a reference design like many of the company’s past mobile devices.

True to the Switch formula, Qualcomm’s gaming system would have detachable Joy-Con style controllers and output to an external display. It would be thicker than a smartphone, but Qualcomm would take advantage of the space to offer more computing power and a fast-charging 6,000mAh battery. At least one version would support 5G, and an SD card slot would provide room for more games.

See also: The best gaming phones

Software would play an important role, too. Qualcomm’s gaming device would run a custom take on Android 12 that not only supports the Google Play Store, but an upcoming Android version of the Epic Games Store. You’d have another option for a console-level Fortnite experience on the move, to put it another way.

If the rumor is accurate, Qualcomm hopes to release its gaming machinein the first quarter of 2022 at a price around $300. While that would be competitive with regular Switch pricing, the chip giant reportedly has no illusions that it’s going to eclipse Nintendo. Much like Microsoft’s Surface PCs, the Switch-alike would ideally spur partners to explore new hardware concepts.

Qualcomm has declined to comment. It’s unclear if this has any connection to a rumor Qualcomm was teaming with ASUS to build own-brand gaming phones, although the company suggested that any collaboration was strictly for reference products.

A Switch-like gaming handheld from Qualcomm might make sense. Mobile gaming remains popular, with people buying premium phones like the ROG Phone 5 just to claim an edge in the latest first-person shooter. Qualcomm could cater to those enthusiasts with a dedicated device that won’t chew up battery life that could be used for TikTok or phone calls. Of course, persuading people to adopt that two-device strategy is another matter. If there aren’t exclusive or optimized games, people may be happy to stick to their phones.

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