Portable gaming handhelds are slowly and steadily carving their way into the PC gaming market. And it goes without saying that Nintendo Switch was the very first device that made a notable mark in the industry. Afterward, Valve introduced the Steam Deck, which brought out tons of competitors in the market. Well, it seems that Qualcomm wants to be a part of the action too.
At least, that's what the recent report from Revegnus is suggesting. Revegnus, known for sourcing out information from credible sources, states that Qualcomm is in talks with various industry giants. And the great part is that these discussions are stated to head in the right direction. So, there could be a Snapdragon-branded handheld pretty soon!
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The discussions of Qualcomm with the industry giants seem to be in a very early stage. Alex Katouzian, the Senior Vice President of the company, is currently in talks with Sony and Nintendo. And as far as we can tell from the report, the SoC giant wants to develop hardware that will be similar to the current competition.
It's worth noting that all the major gaming handhelds utilize desktop-grade SoC. For example, the Steam Deck comes with a custom AMD Zen 2 processor, while the recently released Asus Rog Ally packs an AMD Z1 series CPU. Now as Qualcomm wants to come up with something that's “similar to the competition,” it might be planning to work with the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4.
That said, it's still unclear how the potential partnership with Sony and Nintendo will pan out. Qualcomm may be asking for assistance from Nintendo regarding the design and functionality of the gaming handheld. As for Sony, the SoC giant might be looking forward to launching some exclusive games for the device.
Challenges for Snapdragon Gaming Handheld
Both Sony and Nintendo source their chipsets from different vendors. But fortunately, Qualcomm has tons of experience in manufacturing top-class SoCs. Take the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, for example. It comes with Adreno 740, which is the current best Android smartphone GPU in the market. The GPU even trades blows with the apple A16 Bionic.
However, a portable gaming handheld requires a lot of tuning for proper heat dissipation. This automatically hints that Qualcomm may not move forward with an existing smartphone SoC. And while it's possible to take care of heat with a larger chassis, the Snapdragon gaming handheld will not be relevant if it can not match the current competition.
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So, instead, Qualcomm might develop a dedicated chipset for its gaming handheld. And with the recent Nuvia acquisition, the SoC is already working with custom Oryon cores. These custom Oryon cores are expected to make their debut with Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 next year. But still, the 8 Gen 4 will just be a high-end smartphone chipset.
Fortunately, Qualcomm has made some significant improvements to the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4. That chipset features a 12-core configuration and can reportedly offer top-notch notebook performance. And if Qualcomm does not end up using the 8cx Gen 4, there could be something similar in its upcoming gaming handheld. With this new chipset, Qualcomm could tackle most of the challenges.
No matter what, I am just hoping that Qualcomm does not release just a streaming device like the PlayStation Project Q or Razer Edge. If so, the handheld gaming device will not be worthy of gamers' time. And most importantly, it will not be a major competition in the gaming handheld market.
Hopefully, we will get more information about the device soon. And if we do, you can expect to get updated right away. So, stay tuned!