Forward-looking: It turns out the Steam Deck is more than just a hit product for Valve. The whole market for portable game consoles is being rejuvenated and we may soon see some very interesting options pop up. One of these is the AyaNeo Next 2 — more of a concept than a real product at this point, but potentially the first portable console with a discrete GPU.
Handheld consoles like the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch are in for some fierce competition from lesser-known brands. One example is Chinese startup Aya, which originally set out to create a Switch-killer with devices like the AMD Ryzen-powered AyaNeo but now has even higher ambitions.
Last month, the company unveiled the AyaNeo 2, which is a more refined take on the original recipe that is expected to start shipping sometime later this year. The new console is powered by a Ryzen 7 6800U CPU with RDNA 2 integrated graphics and, at least on paper, it should be significantly more powerful than Valve's Steam Deck while also being a bit more compact.
That said, Aya has no less than seven new handheld consoles planned for release in the coming months, presumably to cover a wide range of price points — from under $300 to well over $1,000. The most interesting of these is the AyaNeo Next 2, which was announced earlier today during a livestream. It looks a lot like the Steam Deck, but it promises to offer more than Valve's most coveted device in years.
What makes the AyaNeo Next 2 interesting is that it could be the first portable game console to feature a discrete GPU. Details are scarce at the moment, but the company did reveal it will make two variants of the new console. One will feature an Intel Alder Lake U-series CPU paired with an Arc GPU, and the other will be equipped with an AMD Ryzen 6000U series processor and Radeon 6000 mobile graphics.
We don't know the exact SKUs that Aya intends to use, but AyaNeo Next 2 users will supposedly be able to upgrade the GPU down the line. Still, we're more interested in how the company intends to keep this new device cool during extended use, as well as how long the battery will last. There's no word on a release window, but if this concept ever materializes you can expect pricing to hover north of $1,500.