Hackers have been able to pull off a lot of feats after unlocking the Switch just a few months after it launched. Aside from some nefarious activities like piracy, hackers have been able to do some admittedly impressive things like adding new features. But, in this case, a hacker has managed to get the Switch to run a whole new operating system.
A video has surfaced showing the Switch running a full version of Android. Going by the Twitter handle ‘@langer_hans’, the video was posted by Max Keller, who actually happens to be an Android developer from Germany. In the video, Keller briefly pokes around a few settings menus and shows off some working functionality such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and even an internet browser. Check it out:
— Max Keller (@langer_hans) February 23, 2019
A long time coming
As you can see from the footage, the OS isn’t running particularly smoothly. But, that has to do with the lack of proper drivers. If and when those are developed further, then it looks like Keller (and potentially others) will be able to transform the Switch into a fully-fledged Android tablet. This isn’t the first instance of Android on Switch we’ve seen either, as just a few weeks ago an image of a Switch with an Android boot screen made the rounds. Now that this video is out in the wild, it shows that progress is definitely being made. Even if this does become fully-functional, it would arguably be quite odd to use the Switch as just another Android tablet. Nevertheless, hackers will likely tinker with this extensively either way.
The fact that this has happened at all isn’t all too surprising. Seeing that the Switch uses an ARM-based processor, along with an Nvidia Tegra mobile chipset, its hardware is already well-supported in the mobile world. So, the porting process of this OS likely wasn’t extremely difficult, at least on a technical level.
Interestingly enough, this whole situation harkens back to the early days of the Switch when we simply knew it by its codename, the ‘NX’, prior to its full reveal. At that time, new rumors would circulate seemingly daily. One rumor that really took off sprouted all the way back in 2015. The rumor was that the console would be using Android as its OS in order to try and encourage more developers (even mobile teams) to support the system. In a very rare turn of events, Nintendo actually stepped out and denied this rumor. Like many companies, Nintendo typically never responds to any rumors, so it was very interesting to see a spokesperson step forward with a formal statement. It’s anybody’s guess as to why that specific rumor was shot down while the others were left alone. Regardless, the original rumor did at least predict an influx of mobile games onto the Switch, which has actually happened.