Smartphones are already some of the most widely used gaming devices on the planet, but Qualcomm has set its sight on dedicated handheld gaming devices. So the company is introducing a Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 chip designed specifically for handheld gaming devices. And the company has partnered with gaming hardware maker Razer to produce a hardware dev kit powered by the processor.

The Snapdragon G3x Handheld Development Kit features a 6.65 inch FHD+ OLED HDR display with a 120 Hz refresh rate, integrated game controllers, and Qualcomm’s gaming-centric processor. It’s designed to help game developers optimize their titles for the platform and it could also serve as a reference design for hardware companies looking to release their own handhelds.

Qualcomm says the dev kit is optimized for playing android games and also for streaming games from cloud gaming services or from home consoles or PCs.

It also has a 5MP webcam with two microphones, allowing gamers to stream themselves in 1080p resolution at up to 60 frames per second, quad speakers, and support for WiFi 6E and 5G mmWave and sub-6Ghz mobile connections.

As for the Snapdragon G3x chip at the heart of the system, Qualcomm hasn’t provided extensive details yet, but the company notes that it supports 10-bit HDR gaming at up to 4K resolutions at 144 Hz, with features including support for variable rate shading, a haptics engine, and USB-C support “for future XR accessories,” suggesting that you might be able to connect a headset or other gear.

The chip features unspecified Qualcomm Kryo CPU cores, Adreno graphics, and a FastConnect wireless system with WiFi 6E support.

While Qualcomm’s first dev kit for the Snapdragon G3x processor will be a handheld, the company is also positioning the chip as a potential solution for set-top-boxes and other devices including micro game consoles.

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7 replies on “Qualcomm and Razer built a handheld game console dev kit”

  1. You know, it used to be a rule that a handheld had to fit into a pocket somehow. Even the original game boy could be stuffed into a pocket, not very comfortably, but you could do it. There are quite a few reasons that’s stopped, but still, generally, to get away with being a handheld you can’t pocket, it needs also to work well as a personal computer, or home console with good exclusives. This is neither, doing nothing a phone with a controller can’t, while being even less pocketable than the Switch. Maybe it’d sell well if they gave it the dimensions of a typical 2:1 smartphone but with a 16×9 screen, used the extra space for buttons, had physical shoulder buttons, and, oh yeah, let it make phone calls so I don’t need another phone that could also play games to go with my phone that plays games.

    1. The modern smartphone is the pocket replacement of the Gameboy. And while you personally may lament the lack of buttons or the fact that app stores are littered with garbage, in practice they provide the ideal casual/short gaming experience most people want from such a pocketable device.

      Handhelds like these are an evolution of the gameboy, not it’s replacement. They’re a new breed of device, made to cater to people who owned gameboys and are all grown up now. They’ve got disposable income, travel by car/plane instead of bike (meaning the slightly bigger size is not an issue, and might actually be preferred due to the larger screen and better ergonomics), expect a higher quality experience and are willing to pay for it.

      tl;dr: You want pocketable, use your phone. You want something better (without having to resort to full-blown consoles/PCs), pick up one of these.

      1. You want something better (without having to resort to full-blown consoles/PCs), pick up one of these.

        Something better” would definitely not be this thing. It’d be the Switch, Steam Deck, likely cheaper emulator handhelds and even those unreliable/bad QA PC gaming handhelds.

        Although, I did ignore that “without having to resort to full-blown consoles/PCs” because why would you not?

  2. I don’t see it. Game developers aren’t going to suddenly start making good games for Android just based on the prospect of there being hardware like this available. And if they do attract developers, it’s going to be Indie titles, and then a bunch of crappy free-to-play games, filled with microtransactions. Because no big developers are going to have faith in the idea of selling $79.99 titles on a platform like this.

    Something with specs close to this thing will cost like $600 minimum. And if they can build this for less than that, I’m going to be offended at the fact that Qualcomm can’t get that same level of value to smartphones.

  3. Absolutely. The biggest problem with competing with Nintendo is that you don’t have the Nintendo 1st party titles. The thought of most Android games (most phone games honestly) fills me with dread.

  4. I just don’t see a large market for a dedicated gaming ARM based handheld that isn’t from Sony, MS or Nintendo (they’ll probably get SoCs customized for them anyway). Even less so when it’s running Android (ie. just snap on some controllers to your existing smartphone).

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