Qualcomm is planning its first foray into the consumer electronics market in years – with a device that closely resembles Nintendo’s popular Switch game console. According to a source familiar with the company’s strategy, the Android-powered game console will try to display the company’s Snapdragon chipsets in a less traditional format.
The device, which we could see indeterminate images but cannot share, is instantly familiar to anyone with a Switch. Joycon style controllers are accessible on the left and right sides of the main console, which looks like a thicker smartphone. There’s a good reason for that: the company believes the extra thermal headroom that gives its processor a thicker design will make it run faster and significantly more efficiently than a modern ultra-thin smartphone. Qualcomm is also using that space to pack in a large 6000mAh battery that will be equipped with its Quick Charge technology. According to our source, Qualcomm is using a leading provider in the control area to design and manufacture the gamepads, although we were unable to confirm the name of that provider. The exact dimensions of the console and its display were not available to us (although a friend of AP and XDA EIC Mishaal Rahman there is reason to think that the screen is 6.65 “across).
Like the Switch, Qualcomm Portables will support display capability to play on a TV or external monitor, although it would not be clear whether that meant a specific port like mini HDMI or whether the port USB-C charge serves dual duty. An SD card slot also appears for expandable storage. The console will run Android 12 with a custom surgeon and will be fully supported for Google Play’s range of apps and services. In a promising sign for fans of the Epic giant Forticite, Qualcomm is currently hoping to support the Epic Games Store app carried at launch time – meaning the Android app it was supposed to be recently expected near release. Qualcomm also has plans to build its own content portal. It was unclear whether Qualcomm was interested in partnering with cloud streaming providers like NVIDIA’s Google Stadia or GeForce Now, although it is clear that the company would be proud of its own silicon graphics capabilities. making local play more of a show feature.
Qualcomm’s current target is to launch the device in Q1 of 2022 – meaning it is likely to feature the next generation of Snapdragon silicon. We don’t know if the company will use a special, unique chip design, or if Qualcomm plans to use it to demonstrate the flexibility of the off-the-shelf solution. The standard array of sensors such as Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometers, and dual-zone haptics are included. Of course, it wouldn’t be Qualcomm without 5G: the portable will feature connectivity for fifth-generation wireless networks (oddly, with Qualcomm’s oldest X55 modem), but it’s unclear if models with Offer Wi-Fi only. The company’s target price point is $ 300, but we’re not sure right now if that price includes the affordable gamepads or the 5G mentioned. We do not assume that any version of the console will work as a mobile device by itself (i.e., you have phone features).
As for the release, Qualcomm plans to offer direct sales to consumers, but it also wants to use its U.S. carrier connections to access store shelves. That could mean different variations from a behavioral brand, although with so few similar results, I wouldn’t bet on big differences between them. Speaking of size, according to our source, Qualcomm has no assumptions about unseating Nintendo: the company’s expectations of commercial success are not overnight. Instead, Qualcomm hopes to encourage its partners to explore new form factors as the line between “mobile” and “token” game blurs increasingly.
Like any product with a year or so between it and being in wholesale, it’s possible that Qualcomm could unknowingly launch the console for concerns about operational capability or a number of other reasons.
Qualcomm was notified prior to the publication of this story. A Qualcomm spokesman said the company’s standard policy of not mentioning rumors or profiteering.