What you need to know
- Qualcomm unveiled a new gaming-focused mobile chipset during a showcase last week.
- The Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 gaming platform brings with it various impressive claims, with 144 FPS support, 4K HDR HDMI output capabilities, updatable Adreno GPU graphics, and more.
- Razer partnered with Qualcomm to make the first dev kit, which looks suspiciously like an Xbox-styled handheld.
Qualcomm is known for some of the world's most-used mobile chips, and recently the firm held a summit to reveal a slew of new gaming products. Firstly, we have the Qualcomm Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 gaming platform, and alongside it, the Snapdragon G3x Handheld Developer Kit.
Qualcomm claims that there isn't yet a bespoke mobile gaming handheld device on the market (apparently they've never heard of the Nintendo Switch). With their new G3x platform, Qualcomm claims they're filling a niche that will allow Android games to enjoy similar experiences to that we have on console or PC. Interestingly, Qualcomm also specifically called out Xbox Cloud Gaming in their presentation, while showcasing a device from Razer, currently in the pipeline for the near future.
The Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 supports many gaming features that are already available in the Nintendo Switch, such as Display Out to TV for docking, support for cooling fan technology, and full game controllers. They also touted features that very much aren't yet available on the Nintendo Switch, such as support for 144 FPS, 5G, and Stereo Haptics — the latter of which has been considered by Microsoft as a way to solve the delta of tactility between a full gamepad and touch controls for cloud gaming.
Indeed, the first device Qualcomm has shown off is Razer's own handheld dev kit, which very much looks like something Microsoft might make. It sports the standard ABXY buttons complete with Xbox-colored buttons, alongside offset joysticks, shoulder buttons, D-pad, and triggers. Embedded in the center is a large display, powered by Android, complete with an embedded webcam for live streaming — although I doubt many streamers will enjoy the low angle this camera will produce.
In the presentation, Qualcomm repeatedly cited Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Xbox console streaming as a capability for this Razer handheld, which also sports stereo haptics and 4-way speakers. It also sports the capability to connect up to a full TV, outputting in 4K with HDR via USB-C. Crucially, this device is also future-proofed with maximum 5G mmWave/sub-6 capabilities, alongside Wi-Fi 6, two crucial features for enhancing picture quality while gaming from the cloud.
There are no details with regards to availability for developers, nor when consumers can start to expect devices from Qualcomm's OEM partners.
We have been hearing for a while at Windows Central that Microsoft has been dabbling with Xbox handheld prototypes for some time now, although something like this Qualcomm platform may be the family of technologies Microsoft needs to really give it serious consideration. Either way, it looks like having to carry around a controller and a clunky phone clip may be a thing of the past for Xbox Cloud Gaming thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon G3x chipset, as more and more developers consider the possibilities of the technology.
Qualcomm was keen to note that mobile gaming, as in iPhone and Android, has recently surpassed console and PC combined sitting at 52% of the market. Handhelds like this that can dock like a Nintendo Switch may further erode that market share, too, especially if they can power experiences up to 144 FPS with 4K output resolution like Qualcomm is claiming. Time will tell.
Besides this new gaming initiative, Qualcomm also announced two new processors for Windows PC: Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3, with impressive performance improvements. The company also announced its latest smartphone processor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.