According to Android Police and XDA’s editor in chief Mishaal Rahman, Qualcomm is reportedly working on a handheld Android powered gaming console that is more or less similar to a Nintendo Switch. The Qualcomm device would be powered by Qualcomm’s silicon and it might be launched by next year.
The Android Police article cites that the device would feature detachable, Joy Con-like controllers, Android 12, an SD card slot, and 5G. Rahman corroborated that the device will be backed up by a 6,000 mAh battery. As of now, the physical dimensions are not clear. Rahman tweeted that the screen could be 6.65-inches with a resolution of 1080 pixels. He also conveyed that it could come with a fan.
Overall, the device sounds like a big smartphone with attached controllers and an active cooling system. It will come with a library of great games that can only be played in it. Qualcomm would have to give customers a good reason why they should play those games on a separate device than on their Qualcomm Snapdragon powered gaming phones with built-in buttons and controller accessories.
Android Police article points out that Qualcomm wants the device to be commercially available at carrier retail stores with a price target of $300. Conversely, Rahman notes that his source believes the product was closer to a reference design than something that would ever be launched commercially. In general, chipmakers often build sample devices to help other manufacturers design around their SOCs. When these reference products are sold by other companies under different brands, it is called white labelling. However, it is understandable why Qualcomm is eyeing the handheld gaming market. The gaming market has been hot since Nvidia’s handheld Shield idea turned into the Nintendo Switch.
The disagreement between the sources could be due to uncertainty from Qualcomm’s end. Irrespective of whether the device ends up as a product or not, it seems Qualcomm is silently designing a dedicated Android gaming device.