No matter how heavy of a gamer you are, you’ve likely heard about the Nintendo Switch somehow. Whether you spent the first few weeks of March last year trying to seek one out at your local retailer or know about the console through your gaming-inclined friends, the Switch has become something of a phenomenon.
Now, a startup by the name of Wonder is looking to take the Switch’s formula and replicate it using Android.
In an interview with The Verge, Wonder CEO and Co-Founder Andy Kleinman gave the site an early look and what’s to come. When you buy Wonder’s product, you’ll get a smartphone with a “massive screen,” a docking station that’ll connect it to your TV, and a controller that can be used to play games on the big screen or dock the phone into for gaming on the go. The phone will be powered by the Android-based WonderOS, and similar to a gaming PC, Wonder’s custom software will allow its GPU to be overclocked to get the best gaming experience possible.
Along with the hardware, Wonder will also offer a paid subscription service. As noted by The Verge —
The software services will supposedly range from access to original games from existing game makers, licensed and mobile-optimized third-party titles, streaming game and media options, and other entertainment hub-like features. There’s no word yet on pricing, or even the specs of the phone itself.
Wonder wants to create an ecosystem for gaming/entertainment enthusiasts similar to what Apple has with its products, and while that’s an admirable goal, it’s also an incredibly daunting one. The idea of having one device to act as your smartphone, game console, and entertainment hub is exciting, but one of the reasons the Switch works so well is that it focuses its efforts solely on gaming. There’s no YouTube app, internet browser, etc. The Switch is all about games, and that limited focus is why it thrives.
Can Wonder succeed where others have failed?
Gadgets of the past that have tried to be an all-in-one solution have ultimately failed, and previous Android gaming efforts from NVIDIA and OUYA didn’t catch on with mainstream consumers. That’s not to say Wonder can’t achieve success, but it’s looking at a steep uphill battle in order to do so.
Wonder expects to launch its hardware and subscription service at some point in 2019, meaning we’re still a ways off before seeing any of this come to light. I’m certainly intrigued by what the company wants to do, but I think it’s important to be cautiously optimistic until more details come out.
Are you interested in what Wonder’s creating?