Qualcomm might be plotting a 5G, Android-based Nintendo Switch rival

There's no lack of strange rumors and reports in the consumer electronics industry, but every once in a while, we get one that seems to come entirely out of left field. Today, one of those rumors is making the rounds, and it pegs Qualcomm as a potential Nintendo competitor. Apparently, the SoC manufacturer is looking at making a Nintendo Switch rival, and it could be here by this time next year.

So says Android Police, which reported today that Qualcomm is gearing up to release "a device that bears a strong resemblance to Nintendo's wildly popular Switch game console." That's enough to get anyone's ears to perk up, partially because we're not used to Qualcomm releasing consumer products, but also because there hasn't really been a direct competitor to the Nintendo Switch in terms of form factor.

Android Police spoke to anonymous sources who are familiar with Qualcomm's plans, and they were able to show the website non-final images of the device in question. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Android Police wasn't able to actually publish those images, but it does describe the device in great detail, saying that it will run Android 12, have detachable controllers similar to the Switch's Joy-Cons, and that the device itself will resemble a thick, bulky smartphone. The extra space inside is said to go toward providing the CPU will better thermals and to allow for a reasonably large 6,000 mAh battery.

The device will also be able to output to external displays just like the Switch, but the exact method it'll use is unknown. Since it's running Android 12, it'll host the Google Play Store, but if this thing is truly going to compete with Switch, it probably won't want to rely solely on Android games. This is where Qualcomm's partners enter the picture, as the company is "hoping" that it can get Epic to put the Epic Games Store on the device.

We also learn that the device could support 5G – potentially giving it an edge over the Nintendo Switch – and be offered through carriers. With that in mind, Android Police doesn't expect it to offer mobile capabilities outside of cellular data, so we probably won't be able to use this as a smartphone. Finally, Qualcomm is apparently targeting a $300 price point, which is the same amount the Switch costs, and a Q1 2022 release date.

So, by this time next year, we could have a Qualcomm-made, Android-based competitor to the Nintendo Switch. Obviously, that's a long way off so things could change in between now and then, and it's possible this planned device will never see the light of day. We'll keep our eyes peeled for more and we'll let you know if Qualcomm makes any official announcements on this front.