Just when it looked like the path to victory was clear for the Nintendo Switch family of video game consoles, which is shortly to be joined by the Nintendo Switch Pro, comes the confirmation that a brand new Switch-style handheld is currently in the works.
And, no, while it might be natural to think that the console is the much-whispered Sony PSP 5G, it in fact is a new system from U.S. chip maker Qualcomm. Yes, you read that right – that's the same Qualcomm who produces the Snapdragon processors for the vast majority of Android phones.
The news, which was broken by Android Police (opens in new tab), who "were able to view non-final images" of the new console, but not share those images, confirms that the Qualcomm console features detachable Joy-Con style controllers, a 6,000 mAh battery, a screen that is approximately 6.65-inches in size, and a core console body that resembles a chunkier smartphone.
According to the report, the chunkier console build is so that there is "added thermal headroom" in the console that means the Qualcomm processor powering the handheld can run faster and deliver much more power than a modern flagship phone.
The amount the Qualcomm handheld console apes the Switch even extends to the fact that it features display-out functionality that allows it to be hooked up to a TV or monitor for larger screen play, while an SD card slot will allow for expandable storage.
In terms of software, the Qualcomm console will run Android 12 with a customised launcher, and will support all Google's suite of services and Play apps. In addition, the Epic Games Store app is also slated for inclusion at launch, and there's the possibility that streaming services such as Nvidia's GeForce Now will also be accessible through it as the console is coming with a 5G modem.
As for a release date and price for this new Qualcomm gaming console, a price of $300 has been reported, as well as a release date of Q1 2022 – that means we are now within a year of this system launching, providing there aren't any delays.
Here at T3 we welcome any new competition to the Nintendo Switch family of handhelds, because as much as we love the BigN and its platform, competition is great for the industry and gamers. We're starting to see more handheld consoles released by smaller makers at the moment, such as the Win 3 by Chinese maker GPD, so it would be good if a major company like Qualcomm got involved.
Hopefully by the end of 2022 gamers will therefore be living in a landscape where the Nintendo Switch Pro, Sony PSP 5G and Qualcomm handheld gaming console all exist. We can but hope!
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