Qualcomm is apparently working on a handheld gaming console


Posts: 883   +162
Staff member
Something to look forward to: The world of Android gaming phones continues to expand with outlandish devices like the Asus ROG 5 or Xiaomi's Black Shark series; however, a dedicated gaming handheld is something of a rarity these days. The category has been pretty much cornered by Nintendo's wildly popular Switch, and it now looks like Qualcomm is prepping an Android-powered rival with detachable Joy-Con-like controllers that it plans to release early next year, potentially showcasing the power of its next-gen Snapdragon chips and an effort to inspire partners to experiment with more form-factors.

Gaming handhelds like the retro Playdate and the Ryzen-powered Aya Neo are certainly interesting new players in this console category, but as with high-end gaming phones, they're likely going to remain niche devices that'll do little to shake the Nintendo Switch off its throne. Qualcomm, it appears, is up next to launch an Android-powered competitor, which will not only mark the US chipmaker's debut into consumer electronics but could also make it a mainstream rival to the Switch, especially since Sony decided to discontinue the PS Vita.

According to Android Police, who had a look at the "non-final" images of the device, Qualcomm's offering bears a similar design to Nintendo's hardware, featuring detachable controllers on either side of the main module and display-out capabilities for attaching to a TV or monitor. It will have an SD card slot for storage expansion and a 6,000mAh battery with Quick Charging technology. The company is also said to be in touch with a "premium supplier" for the console's gamepad design and manufacturing.

Powered by Android 12, Qualcomm's console is expected to come with a customized launcher and full support for Google's apps and services. There's also word that it will feature Epic's upcoming Games Store app for Fortnite players as well as some sort of dedicated content portal built by Qualcomm. Other details include 5G capability, though with telephony services absent, and the usual bevy of sensors and haptics.

Qualcomm is targeting a $300 price point for the console, which it plans to launch in the first quarter of next year. Interestingly, the company is also said to be all too aware of Nintendo and its shining legacy. While Qualcomm may potentially end up with an Android-powered Switch knock-off, its real objective looks to be showcasing next-gen Snapdragon silicon for gaming and inspiring partners to try out different form-factors.

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Posts: 948   +1,746
Yay. Exciting. Any chance this isn't just another bottom-of-the-barrel cheap tablet with some controllers attached...Like the hundreds of DS and Vita clones you can already buy to have the exciting experience of waiting for more crystals to respawn because of gacha mechanics on equally bottom-of-the-barrel Android games?


Posts: 835   +646
TechSpot Elite
Yo good luck Qualcomm, you may be smashing it in the mobile market but handheld consoles are a different beast, and going up against the Switch, powered by Nvidia? You're gonna need to come up with something good. Even your top SD888 wouldn't compete with the Tegra X1 in the Switch and that's an old chip.
Personally very excited to watch this rumble, esp with rumours of the Super Switch with updated internals.


Posts: 315   +302
When I hear that it is powered by Android, I feel its going into the bin. We've seen too many Android based gaming centric smartphones, but I don't see high adoption even though we can observe a lot of people gaming on the go. Moreover it is not just the hardware that needs to work, but software and exclusive game titles that makes a good console. Playstation for example don't have better hardware than an Xbox, but its selling better than Xbox almost all the time.
I do feel Qualcomm is trying to woo the likes of Nintendo to use their hardware for handheld consoles by doing this. In my opinion, I don't think Nintendo is happy using Nvidia SOCs for their consoles. Consider consoles tend to stick to a particular hardware for many years without changing. It seems Nvidia have been rushing Nintendo to upgrade the SOCs every 2 years or so, which I think may result in them being unhappy. With the latest rumor of a new Switch with an updated SOC with different features and sounds a lot more powerful, I think it may cause issues for game developers that will have to optimize the games for the existing Switch.