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Today in 'Oh God, why?', the Nintendo Switch becomes an Android tablet

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The Switch, the latest arrival at Nintendo, is experiencing a period of great success thanks to its enormous versatility and exclusive titles. To one developer, this must not have seemed enough, as the enterprising spirit decided to bring Android to the handheld console.

The story comes from the world's most famous portal for Android developers (and beyond), Xda Developers. The developer ByLaws has decided to take advantage of the famous vulnerability called Fusée Gelée that has allowed the modding of the Nintendo Switch and the installation of unauthorized software onto the console.

For a period Nvidia has developed SoC for mobile devices. / © Phonearena

This was possible thanks to the SoC used by Nintendo, a Nvidia Tegra X1 chip that was also used on some Android devices. It also seems that the Switch's proprietary system has many parts "borrowed" from Android, so much so that Nintendo was rumored to be in talks with the now deceased Cyanogen Inc. for the development of such an OS.

For now, the porting of Android to the Nintendo Switch is still in its infancy, and the system can't get past the initial boot screen with the word Android. In addition, many of the proprietary drivers need to be rewritten manually to allow the console to work and we cannot predict how the behavior of the tablet will evolve over time and whether it has a chance to become at least usable in the future.

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Are Android tablets dead? Some people still don't think so. / © NextPit

The real question is not "when" but "why?"

The Nintendo Switch is a system that I think is almost miraculous. It has components that can be defined as outdated and low-end compared to the competition, but has still managed to give amazing gaming experiences and lots of hours of fun at home and on the go. The Nvidia chip inside was presented and developed with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets in mind, no one would ever expect to see turn on it titles of the caliber of Zelda Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey or third party games such as Diablo III.

So, why waste time to bring an operating system like Android onto the Switch? My colleague Nicholas joked: "Before you could play Super Mario Odyssey, now you can play Super Mario Run. It was definitely worth it." Probably the only reason is "because you can" which I only partially agree with.

A system like Android could be at its best on Nintendo hardware that is only used in dual-boot. In this way it would be possible to choose at startup whether to use our beloved mobile OS or the original system of the Switch: this would allow the use of a browser (absent on the console) and some specific apps for productivity without eliminating the more than optimized Nintendo system for video games.

What do you guys think?

Source: XDA Developers

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  • 17
    Gavin Runeblade Feb 21, 2019 Link to comment

    Many awesome things have been done "because you can". It is one of my favorite reasons for hardware hacks.

  • 7
    Reid Sartin Feb 20, 2019 Link to comment

    Why? Because, at its heart, that's what it is.

  • 49
    storm Feb 20, 2019 Link to comment

    the tegra x1 chip is outdated no matter how you slice it. If you want to frame it "as against competitors" that doesn't change the age or limits of the chip.

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