The Nintendo Switch can now run Android, which gives the hybrid game console natural access to Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Twitch, a wide range of Android apps and many classic game emulators. In particular, it is an unofficial port of LineageOS 15.1 based on Nvidia & # 39; s own builds for the Nvidia Shield TV set-top-box, which means that you can play Nvidia-exclusive such as Portal, Half-life 2and try Nvidia & # 39; s own GeForce Now cloud game service.
That's right: six years after Nvidia tried to beat Nintendo by releasing a portable Android game console, you can now load Android on its own Nvidia-based portable Nintendo. We are coming.
According to him, not everything works perfectly XDA developers, whose members have contributed to the port and whose writers have documented it in the past month. While the Joy-Con controllers work natively, you can pair the switch and even connect a Bluetooth headset – something that Nintendo still doesn't support! – XDA reports that joysticks are not correctly detected in apps such as Dolphin Emulator or the Steam Link game streaming app, the two biggest reasons why I would like to have Android on this platform.
Here is a shortlist with other notable limitations:
- The Joy-Cons only connect via Bluetooth, so they are always in wireless mode, even if they are physically connected
- Bluetooth headsets are limited to older, less energy efficient and lesser quality profiles
- There is no video DRM, so Netflix does not allow you to stream with HD resolutions
- The Switch has no camera, microphone or GPS, so many Android apps are prohibited
- Although you can connect mice, keyboards and controllers with the USB ports, there is no support for external USB storage
- No deep sleep mode, "so the battery life is not great."
- “WiFi can stop working at random. If this happens, restart. & # 39;
Like most such hacks, this is not for the faint of heart. It is often possible to bricken a device if you do not know what you are doing, and there is a valid fear that Nintendo will somehow detect your tampering and forbid you for online services or worse. In addition, not every Nintendo Switch can run a custom ROM anyway – it requires the Hekate bootloader and, depending on your Switch and the software version, the tricks that you would normally use to install might not work.
On the plus side, if you can make it work, XDA says it will not replace your Nintendo software and games – as long as you have a spare SD card that is large enough, you can theoretically switch between Android and the standard Nintendo OS whenever you want.
I wonder if Nvidia can build such a device again, years after the Switch probably encouraged it to cancel its own second-generation portable.