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.
Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
Interesting i feel Xcloud needs something will this be the first off many time will tell.
That almost looks comfortable to hold.
If this and the Steam Deck come out in Japan for a reasonable price, I think Xbox should definitely capitalize on it.
Now if only there were more games on Android that featured controller support and if auto-play gacha games didn't make the most money. Not sure why this would be worth it over buying a controller for your phone and running xCloud there.
Convenience: one device vs 3. Or 4.
(Good cradles run $100 + $60 for a controller + phone cost. If they can come close to the cost of a phone it may make sense. It'll depend on how much offsite gaming you do.)
Developing such a gadget isn't cheap so Qualcomm and Razer see a market for a convergence device like this.
They may be right: look at all the SWITCHes out there.
The best use case I can see is for emulating games from older systems. Multiple handheld Android gaming consoles already exist and that is what they are primarily used for. I just can't see buying a dedicated handheld where the biggest selling point is streaming games unless this device is significantly cheaper than the competition from Nintendo and now Valve.
You're only looking at it as a mobile gaming rig: it's a phone and a console, too.
Notice the bit about full 5G capability? It is as much a phone as a Surface Duo.
Likewise, the HDMI makes it a console.
So it's not just a streaming box. Your point about emulator use holds but Qualcomm isn't about to publicly announce a chipset for running "unofficial" software. Finally, since it's a phone at core, it can move at phone prices, via contract.
In case you haven't noticed, high end phones are running over $1000.
So it doesn't have to be and likely won't be cheap.
Best guess is it will list north of $800, possible $1000.
It'll still move. The only question is how well. Tens of thousands? Millions? TBD.
I guess time will tell but I need them to sell me on more than the streaming part of this device. The HDMI out and webcam are nice but, at the same time, those controllers aren't detachable either so running a cable to a TV or buying a second controller in case they make a dock kind of defeats the purpose. What you propose for pricing plans is not out of the realm of possibility but still falls under conjecture at this point until they give us more info. I feel that as long as they are using Android, they will have to be crazy aggressive with that pricing because that ecosystem is beyond saturated with devices.
There's no shortage of devices, yes.
But they sell.
And new ones keep coming and they keep selling.
When sales growth stops, then it'll be saturated.
Android is like windows: the ecosystem is so big there is room for all sorts of niche devices. Like stick PCs and mobile gaming PCs.
By your logic, Steam shouldn't bother to do the DECK. Or Ferrari should've quit decades ago.
When the ecosystem has billions of users there is always room for one more. Just because a product dodsn't fit us or our budget doesn't automatically mean nobody else will buy it. This is particularly true at the high end. I'mnever paying $1000 for a phone yet there's a thriving market for them. There's room for evdrybody in big ecosystems.
At this point in time, you have two companies that get away with pricing their phones $1000 or more and those are Apple and Samsung. Even Microsoft has a hard time selling the Duo at that asking price. No one is saying there isn't a market but I am saying that this device needs better marketing besides making XCloud the end-all-be-all. Since you decided to bring up Ferrari, it is going to come down to the features and performance to justify the price. I'm not sure why you brought in the Steam Deck as a comparison. Unlike this device, which has billions of Android phones to compete with that can also stream XCloud and some that can output to monitors, there are a limited number of handheld Windows PCs. The Deck is the first time one is being sold at the $399 price point, with this amount of power, and not reliant on dubious aftermarket support from China. It is aimed at the people who want better looking and playing games on the go as the Switch hardware ages out or who want to take their digital library in the go without diuble-dipping and paying the Switch Tax. Perhaps this new device from Razer will fill that niche too but if it is more expensive than even the Steam Deck, it is a much harder sell. On a personal note, I take handheld gaming quite seriously and take a hard look at pretty much every device that comes up for sale no matter what OS it runs. I am the exact market for a device like this and they need to sell it to me harder. Anyways, I'll leave it here and reiterate that the success of this device will come down to features, pricing, and marketing. The Razer name helps as well but they need to make a strong case for it for just like any other new product has to.
I'm happier with just using my phone for xCloud having a dedicated device for game streaming to me kinda defeats the purpose of the convenience of game streaming.
This using the 8cx makes these type of devices for the first time actually have a point, for the first time they use a mor powerful SoC then what's in high end phones.
This isn't for me but I can see it sold bundled with GamePass on a multiyear contract, just like phones.
Because it *is* a phone.
The HDMI out puts it a cut above the phone + cradle solution.
I wouldn't say this is perfect, it's still stuck with Android. I'm sure it's fine streaming but I'd rather just buy a controller for my smartphone, something I already own that has a higher quality screen. I think this would have been better had they put Windows on it and worked with MS to add a translation layer to Windows for x86 and x86-64, and Qualcomm beefed this up so it was more in-line with 11th gen Intel chips (with a better IGP option), then it would have been solid. Qualcomm has made performance claims before only to fall short, I have no reason to trust what they're saying now with this or their new WoA chip. I'd rather have a Steam Deck than this, at least I can put full Windows on it and have access to my full Steam library with whatever mods I want in addition to using whatever game streaming service I want.
Get the best of Windows Central in in your inbox, every day!
Thank you for signing up to Windows Central. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.