It appears that Qualcomm is working on a Nintendo Switch lookalike, marking the chipmaker’s first stab at the gaming hardware market. As per sources, the console will use an Android OS and leverage one of the company’s custom Snapdragon SoCs not used in the smartphone market. Similar to the Switch, Qualcomm’s console will feature detachable “joycon” controllers on the two sides of the screen, with roughly the same form factor. Although the chipmaker’s expertise in making mobile CPUs is well known, the GPU side is a concern.
Despite being half a decade old, the Tegra X1 is still one of the fastest mobile GPUs on the market. And it’s important to keep in mind that it’s 4-5 times slower than the latest Tegra Orion SoC which leverages the Ampere GPU architecture. As per rumors, the next-gen Switch will leverage an even newer design based on the Lovelace architecture, putting it a generation or two ahead of its competitors.
Regardless, it looks like Qualcomm is going all-out with a large 6000mAh battery and premium gamepads. The screen size is expected to be roughly the same as that of the Switch, with support for display-out, and the capability to output to an external display. The console will come with Android 12 and all the accompanying apps found on a modern smartphone. The surprise is the inclusion of the Epic Games Store App which is presently being worked upon, and may or may not make it in time for release.
In terms of connectivity, you’re looking at a 5G capable device with Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometers, and a dual-haptics solution. WiFi-only models are also likely. As for the release date, Qualcomm is aiming for an early 2022 launch, meaning that it will clash against the next-gen Switch (and likely fail). The company is considering a target price of $300 which will make it accessible to a wider audience, but it’ll be hard to persuade people to buy this over a Switch.