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Rumor Qualcomm is planning an Android-powered Nintendo Switch knockoff

IbizaPocholo

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Qualcomm plans its first foray into the consumer electronics market in years — with a device that bears a strong resemblance to Nintendo's wildly popular Switch game console. According to a source familiar with the company's strategy, the Android-powered game console will attempt to showcase the company's Snapdragon chipsets in a less traditional form factor.

The device, which we were able to view non-final images of but cannot share, is immediately familiar to anyone who owns a Switch. Detachable "joycon" style controllers are on the left and right sides of the core console, which resembles a thicker, bulkier smartphone. There's a good reason for that: the company believes that the added thermal headroom a thicker design affords will make its processor 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 premium supplier in the controller space to design and manufacture the gamepads, though we were unable to verify the name of that supplier. The exact dimensions of the console and its display also weren't made available to us (though friend of AP and XDA EIC Mishaal Rahman has reason to think the screen is 6.65" across).

Like the Switch, Qualcomm's portable will support display-out capabilities to play on an external TV or monitor, though if it was unclear if that meant a dedicated port like mini HDMI or if the USB-C charging port would serve double duty. An SD card slot will also be featured for expandable storage. The console will run Android 12 with a customized launcher and feature full support for Google's suite of Play apps and services. In a promising sign for fans of Fortnite giant Epic, Qualcomm currently hopes to support the Epic Games Store app on its portable at launch — meaning the long-awaited Android app may finally be nearing release. Qualcomm also has plans to build its own content portal. It was unclear if Qualcomm was interested in partnering with cloud streaming providers like Google's Stadia or NVIDIA's GeForce Now, though the company's pride in the graphics capabilities of its own silicon would obviously make local play more of a showcase feature.

Qualcomm's current target is to launch the device in Q1 of 2022 — meaning it will likely feature the next generation of Snapdragon silicon. We don't know if the company will use a bespoke, customized chip design, or if Qualcomm plans to use it to demonstrate the flexibility of its off-the-shelf solution. The typical suite of sensors like 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 (curiously, with Qualcomm's older X55 modem), but it's unclear if models with Wi-Fi only might be offered. The company's targeted price point is $300, but we're not currently sure if that price includes the detachable gamepads or the aforementioned 5G. We do not believe any version of the console will function as a standalone mobile handset (i.e., have telephony features).

As for distribution, Qualcomm plans to offer direct sales to consumers, but also wants to use its US carrier connections to get on store shelves. That could mean specifically carrier-branded variants, though given the likely small volumes of product involved, I wouldn't bet on any significant differences between them. Speaking of volume, according to our source, Qualcomm doesn't have any delusions of unseating Nintendo: the company's expectations aren't of overnight commercial success. Rather, Qualcomm hopes it will inspire its partners to explore new form factors as the line between "mobile" and "console" gaming increasingly blurs.

Like any product with a year or so between itself and retail existence, it's possible Qualcomm could scuttle the launch of its unannounced console for concerns about commercial viability or any other number of reasons.

Qualcomm was contacted prior to the publication of this story. A Qualcomm spokesperson cited the company's standard policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation.
 

CamHostage

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It's fine, I guess? It makes some sense to try these kind of "phone hardware = game system" products for a while and now prices are good enough that you don't need $1000 hardware to play "top-class mobile" games. Fortnite and PUBG are "real" games and kids are playing them on their phones, so the hardware is already there, it just needs to be packaged and marketed as worth getting over just continuing to play with a phone. BT controller accessories never took off, but otherwise there's little reason why there are Android TV and Android Tablet and Android Phone devices but relatively few Android Gaming devices.

...But, a competitor to Switch? No. Form factor isn't really what's making Switch a devastator; it's the total Nintendo package.
 
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Kadve

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Knockoff? I guess the saying that things aren't new until Nintendo or Apple do it really is true.

Case in point, the Razer Edge (released in 2013)

 
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CamHostage

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Knockoff? I guess the saying that things aren't new until Nintendo or Apple do it really is true.

Case in point, the Razer Edge (released in 2013)


Darn, I thought I could beat your knock-off knock on the by a year or two, but the Wikipad was also released in 2013.

(*Watch the video, if you've never seen it, because the Wikipad is bonkers design. I actually had one, for a short while; that and a PlayStation Xperia Play phone.)


There was also the Achos Gamepad, which was shaped like a Switch but didn't have break-away controls. (also 2013...also, how did I beat Charbax to an Archos mention?)

 
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lughnasadh123

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Hope there's a Switch lite form factor option as well. Having something a bit more portable with my decent-sized Steam and EGS library would be sweet to have.
 

EDMIX

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What makes the Switch great is the exclusive Nintendo games.

You can make a portable as powerful as the PS5/XSX, but if there's no exclusive games it won't matter.

I disagree, I'd go even further and say IF THERE'S EXCLUSIVE GAMES, it STILL won't matter.

PSP. Had many, many exclusives games, more powerful, had a video out to play on the television (the thing people are now pretending is this new revolutionary concept) , yet got outside by DS by a great deal.

PS Vita, lots of exclusives, more powerful, still didn't matter.

I believe even if Sony or MS came out with a handheld that was as powerful and had exclusives and could out to the TV, it would still fail. The market is basically owned by mobile phones and Nintendo and even they are moving less units compared to several generations ago based on how many game on phones now.


I think anything like a portable PS or XB is basically the PSP all over again, we already know what that would result in as I think many love ignoring reality with this one and always have this whole "but if Uncharted was portable, UNCHARTED BRO" or "if Kingdom Hearts was....KINGDOM HEARTS BRO, thats a MASSIVE IP, GAME OVERZ" lol PSP and PS Vita imho are the real answers to those questions and I simply don't think there is room in the market for Sony let alone MS doing a portable. Their IP simply don't translate well portably and even when they do, the market is either casual phone or casual Nintendo. As in, LBP moved millions for Sony, its a great IP, but come on now folks, that IP would have moved MORE UNITS under Nintendo. We've seen this time and time again, a concept very similar to what others have done in the past, Nintendo does it and people go around pretending its the second coming.

As Nintendo can do more with LBP simply based on that idea, then Sony can.

EverydayBeast EverydayBeast lol yea so did the actual Gameboy players


I always wondered why they never did anything like that for Wii for DS or Wii U for 3DS (I mean it literally has 2 screens already) looks like they wanted to simply remaster those titles instead of continuing the whole gameplay player thing.
 
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LordOfChaos

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As with every previous effort like this, attracting big enough games to port to this specific device on Android is the hard part. The phone in my pocket is easily more powerful than the Switch in every metric, but lacks the AAA ports that still come to it.
 

SlimeGooGoo

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PSP. Had many, many exclusives games, more powerful, had a video out to play on the television (the thing people are now pretending is this new revolutionary concept) , yet got outside by DS by a great deal.

PS Vita, lots of exclusives, more powerful, still didn't matter.
Honestly, PSP didn't sell as much as the DS, but it did pretty well.
PSVita had potential, but Sony made some really bad decisions, especially regarding the expensive card.

I believe even if Sony or MS came out with a handheld that was as powerful and had exclusives and could out to the TV, it would still fail
I agree wholeheartedly.

The market is basically owned by mobile phones and Nintendo and even they are moving less units compared to several generations ago based on how many game on phones now.
I say give it time. So far it hit the mark of 80+ million units sold in 3/4 years.

The competition over mobile phones is exactly why Nintendo made the Switch so affordable, easy to connect to the TV and has everything you need to play games included.
Say what you will about mobile phones, but nothing beats a machine dedicated to games with a company dedicated to games backing it up such as Nintendo.
 

EDMIX

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Honestly, PSP didn't sell as much as the DS, but it did pretty well.

Agreed. I think it did as good as one could really do in a market with Nintendo before modern cell phones where mainstream.

PSVita had potential, but Sony made some really bad decisions, especially regarding the expensive card.

Agreed. They were already in a situation where the mobile market was taking over to the point of even Nintendo move less units, they couldn't afford all the issues that happened with PS Vita. The expensive cards, the lack of many of their big IP, no video out despite PSP having one. It simply didn't evolve enough to really compete and I believe even if it did, it was never moving those PSP numbers if 3DS wasn't moving DS numbers as those days are long over.

I say give it time. So far it hit the mark of 80+ million units sold in 3/4 years.

True, I simply mean they will likely never be at that DS market height. Its why I think they need to just do a Switch 2, keep the same concept, name, more powerful and keep it moving. They need a few generations of that to give that healthy install base some certainty.


Say what you will about mobile phones, but nothing beats a machine dedicated to games with a company dedicated to games backing it up such as Nintendo.

Oh don't get me wrong, I don't personally disagree with you as I don't game on my phone and really only gamed portably on PSP and Nintendo Handhelds, my take on it is simply based on the reality how mobile phones owning that casual market now.

People like my sister, my mom, my friends mom etc liked playing those portables and the games they played were stuff like Puzzle quest, tetris, harvest moon etc

As time went on, my sister was playing shit like Candy Crush, my mom was showing me her account on Farmville lol, my friend's mom is obsessed with Candy Crush too, but she loved those puzzle games on those Nintendo portables, my sisters loved a lot of those games on PSP too, where they could watch movies, listen to music and game a bit.

Those days are just over though, a phone can do those things easier for that consumer base. Its not like you and I who game....like a lot lol Who actually want a dedicated system and not simply for 1 or 2 puzzle games. I see it no different then the Wii install base. PSP, Wii and DS imho had extremely unrealistic install bases based on hype, casual consumers and people who would no longer even be buying those systems 1 generation later. I'd argue a large amount of people who really did buy those systems were causals that are now just doing a lot of that on their phones, ipads, facebook etc.

That is a market I do no see returning, thus maybe the number we saw from PS VIta or even 3DS really is the true number of those fans that really, REALLY care about that concept.
 
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Yselacrey00

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Knockoff? I guess the saying that things aren't new until Nintendo or Apple do it really is true.

Case in point, the Razer Edge (released in 2013)

Lol dafuq is that lmao. Anyway, a screen with the ability to attach controllers at its sides is hardly something innovative.
 

SlimeGooGoo

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Those days are just over though, a phone can do those things easier for that consumer base
Yeah, the casual market will definitely prefer their phones now, especially since most of them already have one.
Even Nintendo released some games on mobile phones in recent years, they're definitely testing waters.

There's really no way to tell if another portable will be as profitable in the future.
Hopefully it will though. I'm not a big fan of expensive phones.
 
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dvdvideo

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What makes the Switch great is the exclusive Nintendo games.

You can make a portable as powerful as the PS5/XSX, but if there's no exclusive games it won't matter.

I'd have to disagree with this, there is a Market for a second handheld, it needs good games, but they don't have to be exclusive.
This device would also support xcloud, and local network xbox streaming.
 

Sean Mirrsen

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I'd have to disagree with this, there is a Market for a second handheld, it needs good games, but they don't have to be exclusive.
This device would also support xcloud, and local network xbox streaming.
Any Android device supports that, that's the issue.

The biggest problem of an Android handheld console, is that Android is a worse compatibility minefield than PC is. It'll take a massive amount on investment to get big companies to bother with making ports - high-quality, well-made ports - from PC or consoles to Android.
 
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HoodWinked

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Seems stupid that they would do it. They aren't in manufacturing or fabrication. So they would have to contract it out for production they probably even had to contract out the product design since they don't do that either.

Then the margins are basically zero for Android devices even worse if not a phone. And since they have to contract most of it out they don't even have a financial wedge.

Only money would come from the bundled storefront which they don't have either.
 
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The problem with all those who copied Nintendo - they don't have same amazing first-party studios who make great games for any hardware.
So what games you can play on Qualcomm console and why I just dont play them on my phone?
 
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jufonuk

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The problem with all those who copied Nintendo - they don't have same amazing first-party studios who make great games for any hardware.
So what games you can play on Qualcomm console and why I just dont play them on my phone?
Please play jelly splash and other great android games such as rip offs of Nintendo games. Please be excite.
 
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Apr 27, 2018
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What makes the Switch great is the exclusive Nintendo games.

You can make a portable as powerful as the PS5/XSX, but if there's no exclusive games it won't matter.
B-b-but only console warriors care about exclusives, right? At least that's what the Xbox guys have been telling me.

Funny they stopped caring about exclusives once all Xbox games started getting ported to PC. Biggest narrative change in gaming
 
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Dr Bass

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"Qualcomm planning to bomb in the video game industry over the coming years."

I don't get how this stuff gets green lit.
 

jaysius

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Remembers someone the claim from Huawei



This is a case of Native Marketing, licking the advertisers/content provider(reviews/previews) anus. It's pretty common these days, but whenever you spot the hyperbole be sure to erase said source from your mind as an "impartial" review source on anything.

Integrity is all a "journalism" site has, but they don't realize how many times they sell it... although people are so dull these days they don't realize how many times it's been sold.


poop GIF
 
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Arcadia88

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If Nintendo would let me buy all the switch games on my iphone I would spend the money to rebuy all the games that I've already bought on the Switch and then Drop Kick my Switch across the backyard.
Or trade it in. That works too.