The big picture: Installing Android 10 on the Nintendo Switch could give current owners of the portable console much more utility than just playing games. Android allows users to install software that Nintendo surprisingly hasn't made available, such as streaming services or take full advantage of emulators. While there's always a chance you will brick your device, it seems worth a try for anyone willing to extend the life of their Switch.
The mad lads at XDA-Developers have done it again. The SwitchRoot team that originally ported Android 8.1 Oreo to the Switch has managed to get Android 10 running on Nintendo's hybrid console as well. Technically, it's LineageOS 17.1, but this should be a welcome sight for the hobbyists and tinkerers out there.
This specific LineageOS version is based off the Nvidia Shield TV build. XDA says that the new release is faster and more responsive than Android 8.1 and improves battery life by finally implementing a deep sleep mode.
Wi-Fi performance is also improved along with better Joy-Con support. One of the primary benefits of using Android is access to the Google Play Store. This opens up a wealth of possibilities such as emulators, streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, and even game streaming services like Stadia or GeForce Now. Here's the full list of updates:
- Android 10 based on Lineage 17.1
- OTA updates.
- Full Joy-Con and Pro Controller support with analog sticks and rails.
- Hori Joy-Con support.
- Deep sleep that can last for weeks.
- An Android TV-based build.
- Reworked fan profiles for quieter operation.
- Optimized dock support with resolution scaling.
- A rewritten charger driver supporting USB-PD and third party docks.
- Optimized touch screen driver.
- Easier install via Hekate partition tool.
- Reworked, simpler, power profiles.
- Much improved WiFi driver with less dropouts.
- Shield TV remote app support for easy docked control.
- Reboot to payload support.
- Improved Bluetooth accessory support.
- Autorotation support.
Obviously, this isn't officially sanctioned by Nintendo or even the LineageOS team. This build of Android ironically doesn't support games Shield-specific games such as Half-Life 2 and Tomb Raider, despite being the same OS build. Additionally, there are still a few bugs to work out like Bluetooth audio stutters or some apps not supporting the Joy-Con d-pad. Finally, not all Switch models will work, with only those released before Nintendo updated the internals being supported. Sorry Switch Lite owners.
The usual caveats apply when installing unofficial software but as long as you have a spare SD card, you could technically switch (ha!) back and forth between Nintendo's operating system and Android 10. With the possibility of a future Switch Pro release up in the air, this could be a great way of extending the life of your Switch.