The images for the Nintendo Switch unofficial Android port are now here, letting Switch owners convert their hybrid console into a hybrid console that happens to run Android.
This is all thanks to a 2018 exploit in the Nintendo Switch’s code that allows the execution of outside code. Due to a flew with the Tegra X1 SoC,leading to the development of an Android port based on the NVIDIA Shield Android TV’s Lineage 15.1 operating system. Roughly, this is comparable to Android’s 8.1 Oreo release, so it is lagging a little behind the latest Android features, but should have decent compatibility.
This is the creation of developer Billy Laws, known by his alias of ByLaws, along with developer Max Keller, and it’s the first public release of the software, after they first managed to get a version of Android working on the console back in February.
The key thing is that it runs off of an SD card, meaning you don’t need to install it on the system itself, and can always go back to having a regular Nintendo Switch by slamming that eject button and tossing your SD card into a river. Or, to be honest, storing it in your Nintendo Switch case for later use. The river thing is optional.
You can get a glimpse at how it all works in this video from xdadevelopers, which shows a few cool features, namely the way it takes advantage of some of the Nintendo Switch’s best features: native Joy-Con support, and even seamless docking to let you put your Android apps on the big screen.
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There are problems, of course. It’s the first release so there are a few weird bugs and glitches which will likely be ironed out over time. Unlikely to be fixed are a few of the more serious problems: the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have GPS, a mic or a camera, meaning Android apps relying on these are going to straight up not work. Bad news for Pokemon Go fans., but that’s not really the target demographic for this conversion.
For a lot of people, this will involve having a Nintendo Switch that can be used as a multimedia machine, whether that’s for running legally dubious emulation software, which we’d never advise you do, or just watching Netflix in a hotel room a long way from home.
Everything you need to get it working can be found in this thread. You’ll need an SD card, of course.
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