If you’ve ever wished the Switch functioned more like an Android tablet, an upcoming “port” for Nintendo’s portable/home console hybrid will soon make that fantasy a reality. Of course, this first swing at Android for Switch isn’t exactly a 1-to-1 transfer.
To be clear, this is a homebrew app we’re talking about and not an official, licensed product from Nintendo, so use at your own risk. Also, later models of the Switch were designed to safeguard against this kind of thing so, in order to get Android running properly on your Switch, it will need to be one of the consoles purchased before July 2018.
Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, here are the details according to a recent hands-on session from the folks at XDA Developers.
We learned earlier this year that Billy Laws and Max Keller figured out a way to get Android software running on the Switch. They’ve taken some time to develop a proper app for these purposes, which is apparently nearly ready for release to the general public. In short, what everyone is calling an Android “port” for the Nintendo Switch will turn your console into a pretty standard Android tablet. That’s all thanks to the console’s 4GB of RAM and the fact that it’s got a Tegra X1 chipset running under the hood, meaning the Switch can handle pretty much anything the mobile market can throw at it.
Unfortunately, the device still remains limited by the hardware. The Switch doesn’t have a compass, microphone or camera, for instance, so games and apps that require that functionality won’t work. Also, while most games apparently utilize the Joy-con controllers just fine, some still require you to use the touchscreen instead. The game they note specifically is PUBG Mobile, though that issue will probably be ironed out at some point.
So why is this all good news? Because the Android port runs off a mircro-SD card rather than the hardware itself, which means you don’t have to do anything special to the console to get it up and running. You can use your Switch as a gaming console as intended and, if you want, you can freely bounce back and forth between running Android games or apps on the device, such as Netflix. And yes, it still works while docked.
Those are just the basics for now. The original report has a very thorough breakdown, which you should probably check out if you’re thinking of taking Android on Switch for a spin in the coming months.