A reference to an upgraded Nintendo Switch model was reportedly found in the latest console firmware update, which seems to bolster reports that a “ Pro ” console will be released this year.
Details come via known dataminer SciresM, which claims that the firmware refers to new hardware named “Aula”.
Aula would use a Mariko SoC (Tegra X1 +), which is the same chip used in the Nintendo Switch Lite and 2019 review.
While that in and of itself does not suggest an improvement in performance, SciresM does suggest that it will be pushed to higher clock speeds and that the firmware also refers to support for a Realtek chip which bills itself as a “4K UHD Multimedia SoC”. Previous reports in the media have indicated that “Switch Pro” will support 4K resolution.
As for the physical hardware, it is claimed that the Aula model “definitely” has an improved display in the form of an OLED screen.
SciresM notes that the display is probably not a higher resolution on the tablet itself and speculates that the Realtek 4K chip could be in the new model’s dock, allowing 4K resolution when played on a TV. .
In addition, the firmware supposedly suggests better cooling and better battery life for Aula.
Several outlets have reported that Nintendo is preparing to launch new Switch hardware in early 2021 and that it may offer improved computing power and support for 4K graphics.
According to a Bloomberg story from September, Nintendo asked game developers to prepare their existing games for 4K, in preparation for the new hardware.
Asked about “ Switch Pro, ” as it has been dubbed, in an interview with Polygon published last month, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser downplayed reports the company was planning an imminent overhaul of Switch.
“Right now, with the momentum we have, we’ll be focusing on existing form factors,” he said.
“First, we’re always looking at the technology,” Bowser added. “And as we know, technology is constantly evolving and changing. And we always look at what happens to determine: how can it improve and improve the gaming experience? And whether it’s on a current platform or a future platform, we’re always looking at that.
“However, we’re also seeing right now – and we just talked about it – that the momentum on Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite in Year 4 is strong. And we think we’re changing the course of another typical console lifecycle.
“And we will continue, for the foreseeable future, to really look at these two platforms and the content that goes with them, because it’s the symbiotic relationship that makes the real difference. And that’s why the Nintendo Switch is so differentiated. “
Bowser also reiterated Nintendo’s belief that the Switch platform is “right in the middle” of its lifecycle.
Switch launched in March 2017 and had sold more than 68 million units by September 2020, according to Nintendo.