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Xbox handheld rumors are swirling after a new feature hit consoles

Published May 2nd, 2024 3:06PM EDT
Image: Microsoft

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Everyone put on your tin foil hats and strap yourselves in: it’s time to jump face-first into the rumor mill. Xbox had to go ahead and release a relatively small software feature and that was enough to send the rumors of an Xbox handheld swirling.

The Verge’s Tom Warren caught the new feature and shared it on Threads. As you can see in the video below, the company is now testing a feature that would let your Xbox remember multiple Wi-Fi networks. As Warren mentions, this will come in handy if you happen to regularly take your console on vacation. I imagine this is also great for kids who take their consoles over to their friends’ houses.

“Another day, another great Xbox dashboard feature. Microsoft is testing out the ability for Xbox consoles to remember multiple Wi-Fi networks. This makes it easy to switch between networks if you take your console on a road trip.”

Post by @tomwarrenuk
View on Threads

While this feature is currently being tested, and it is unclear when it will roll out to all users, it immediately sparked rumors that this is further proof that Microsoft is working on its own Xbox portable handheld. That would make a lot of sense since a portable console would definitely need the ability to remember and automatically connect to multiple Wi-Fi networks — not doing so would be a real pain for anyone bringing their handheld to school, work, on vacation, or wherever.

Rumors of a handheld made by Xbox directly have been swirling for years. There are now quite a few handheld gaming devices that can play Xbox and PC games. Some of them include the Asus ROG Ally, the Lenovo Legion Go, and the MSI Claw. However, while these devices now exist, they come with an enormous tradeoff.

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles. Image source: Microsoft

While all of them technically work, they do so at the sacrifice of needing to run a full version of Windows 11, bringing a ton of bloat and inefficiency to the devices. While they can perform at surprising technical levels, it comes at a huge sacrifice to battery life. In comparison to the Nintendo Switch’s base four and a half hours of battery life (it can get up to 9 hours), it’s not uncommon for the Asus, Lenovo, and MSI handhelds to die after a couple of hours.

If Xbox can create a stripped-down version of Windows (or run Xbox software directly), battery life would likely get a huge boost, something that an Xbox-branded handheld would likely showcase. I’d love to see one make its way into the universe, and today’s update is just one step closer to making that a reality.

The update comes a day after the company announced that it will be hosting its yearly Xbox Games Showcase as well as a Call of Duty Direct event on June 9th. Could we get a peek at a handheld then? Probably not, but we can all dream.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.