Qualcomm Reportedly Developing Nintendo Switch-Like Snapdragon Android Gaming Handheld

Nintendo Switch
There are no two ways about it, the Nintendo Switch is a smashing success—Switch sales soared last year, with more units sold to date than the 3DS. Can the success of the Switch be replicated on other platforms? Hardware makers aim to find out. That includes Qualcomm, which is developing a handheld console that is similar in appearance to the Switch.

It won't run Nintendo Switch games, though, at least not natively. Not the least bit surprising, Qualcomm is building its custom console around Android, and apparently even has ambitions of offering its own app storefront. In other words, Qualcomm is really going for it, on both the hardware and software side of the equation.

The folks at Android Police say they have seen "non-final images" of Qualcomm's upcoming handheld console, and that it bears a strong resemblance to the Switch, with detachable controllers on the left and right side. It is thicker than a smartphone to accommodate better cooling and a bigger battery (6,000 mAh) than what you typically find in a handset. That is, save for handsets like the ASUS ROG Phone 5, which sports a 6,000 mAh battery.

Some kind of Snapdragon SoC will run the show, though it's not clear if we are looking at something like the Snapdragon 888, or a custom chip that will be exclusive to the handheld. Either way, 5G connectivity will be part of the package.

It will also feature a bevy of sensors, including accelerometers, GPS, dual-zone haptics, and of course Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity (it's also not clear if Qualcomm will offer a Wi-Fi only model, or if 5G will be a standard option).

Just as the Switch can play games on its both its built-in display and on an external big screen TV or monitor (by way of a dock), Qualcomm's upcoming console will have the same dual capability. It might not be through a dock, however, and could be accomplished by way of a mini-HDMI port.

The console will have an SD card slot for expandable storage and run on Android 12, complete with a custom launcher. From what we can tell, this will be more than a glorified Android smartphone. Qualcomm hopes to support the Epic Games Store at launch. In theory, it could also partner with Google and NVIDIA to support Stadia and GeForce NOW, respectively, though there is no mention of either so far.

It will be interesting to see what Qualcomm comes with for its final design. Among other things, this could hold appeal for gamers who are into the emulation scene. We'll have to wait a bit to find out the finalized details, though, as Qualcomm is targeting a Q1 2022 release, with a price of around $300.