Qualcomm partners with Razer to launch a Snapdragon-powered handheld gaming dev kit


What just happened? With the upcoming launch of Valve’s Steam Deck firmly in everyone’s mind, companies like Razer and Qualcomm are taking note of growing consumer interest in powerful but portable PC gaming devices. That’s why the two companies have partnered to develop an all-new handheld gaming machine. Or rather, a dev kit for one. The device will run the first generation of Qualcomm’s freshly-announced Snapdragon G3x silicon.

The device doesn’t have a slick codename right now, so Qualcomm is just calling it the first “Snapdragon G3x Handheld Gaming Developer Kit,” which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But that’s fine. Neither Razer nor Qualcomm is trying to sell this to the average user, so a flashy product name isn’t necessary. The announcement leaked a couple days ago, and we’ve just been waiting for the official reveal since.

So, if this gadget isn’t for ordinary gamers, what is its purpose? As with any dev kit, it’s intended to help game and hardware developers create products well-suited for the portable gaming market, which will likely grow substantially in the coming years.

That’s especially true if the Steam Deck and its competitors sell enough units to catch the eye of developers. Given that the Steam Deck received so many reservations that Valve had to push back its estimated launch date several times, we doubt that will be an issue.

At any rate, the device is wide, rectangular, and equipped with a pretty standard array of buttons: two joysticks, a d-pad, two shoulder buttons, two triggers, four labeled face buttons, and three additional buttons for Start, Select, and one more option that we can’t make out the name of.

Regarding its other physical attributes, the device boasts a 6.65-inch OLED display with a 1080p resolution and support for “up to” 120hz refresh rates. It also has a built-in 5MP webcam designed for streaming, supporting 1080p, 60 FPS recording. Additionally, you’ll find two microphones nestled on the left and right sides of the display for audio capture.

Though we imagine most users will game with headphones or earbuds, the unit does contain “4-way speakers” that supposedly provide “fantastic audio.” Qualcomm says the ergonomics are solid, too, but we wouldn’t be able to confirm that without trying a unit ourselves.

What about under-the-hood hardware? Obviously, it features a Snapdragon G3x as mentioned before (which contains an unspecified Adreno GPU) but other details such as RAM capacity are still up in the air. The device does have a USB-C port, DisplayPort over USB-C functionality, Bluetooth 5.2 support, and a 6000mAh battery.

Interestingly, Qualcomm says the G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform will support cloud gaming, Android gaming, PC gaming, and even Android app usage from the same device. This is obviously not impossible to achieve on a normal PC (far from it), but if switching between all those functions is seamless, Qualcomm might have something special.

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