Rumors of an upgraded Nintendo Switch console have been floating around for years, but Bloomberg reports the new Switch will finally make its debut later this year. Sources familiar with the company’s plans say that Nintendo will equip the new console with a 7-inch, 720p OLED display made by Samsung. Mass production of these OLED panels could begin as early as June, and the initial monthly target is said to be just under a million units.
While the current 6.2-inch Switch and 5.5-inch Switch Lite each have 720p LCD displays, neither model is capable of hitting that resolution consistently while playing games in handheld mode. Presumably, the new Switch model will be powerful enough to run games at 720p resolution when users want to play their games undocked.
In addition to increasing the size of the Switch’s built-in display, Nintendo is also said to be targeting 4K resolution for games played on a television while the new Switch is sitting in its dock. 4K is the new normal for home consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but the current Nintendo Switch models are only capable of running games at 1080p while hooked up to a TV. This would bring Nintendo up to speed with its industry rivals.
Here’s what Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Matthew Kanterman and Nathan Naidu think of the new Switch:
The release of a more premium version of Nintendo’s Switch console with an OLED display and support for 4K graphics for the holiday 2021 selling season could drive the company’s sales above consensus for the fiscal year ending March 2022 and extend the life cycle of the Switch platform for many more years.
As Bloomberg explains, the deal will be mutually beneficial for Nintendo and Samsung “because market prices for so-called rigid OLED panels have been falling due to excess supply.” Samsung knows where all of its rigid OLED panels are going for the foreseeable future, and Nintendo doesn’t have to worry about shortages.
The display was the focus of the report, which is why we did not learn anything about the components that will power the “Switch Pro” and enable 4K graphics. The Switch came out four years ago, so it stands to reason that the custom NVIDIA Tegra processor is due for an upgrade. Beyond resolution, the current Switch models often struggle to run a graphically demanding game smoothly, which might not be the case for the Switch Pro.
Nintendo launched an updated Switch model in August 2019, and while the look and feel of the console are identical to the original Switch, the battery life improved to 4.5 to 9 hours (up from 2.5 to 6.5 hours). With an OLED screen, the Switch Pro should have even better battery life than the HAC-001(-01) Switch.
Bloomberg did not share a release date for the new Switch, but did report that assembly could begin in July.