Nintendo might join Sony and Microsoft in the next-gen console market sooner than expected. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that the company has asked Samsung to start mass production on a 7-inch OLED display meant for a new version of the Switch.
The current version of the Switch debuted in March 2017. Nintendo updated the console with a brighter display in 2019, and introduced the Nintendo Switch Lite handheld that same year, but on the whole it’s still a three-year-old console.
Yet the Switch has been the best-selling console for more than two years straight despite supply constraints resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. (It seems like practically everyone bought a Switch and Animal Crossing in early 2020.)
Bloomberg’s report indicated that Nintendo isn’t messing with success. Rather than redesigning the Switch entirely, the company is poised to introduce a model with a larger OLED display, along with the ability to output at 4K when it’s docked.
The report claimed that Samsung is set to manufacture a 7-inch OLED display; the current Switch boasts a 6.2-inch LCD display. Unfortunately it seems the relatively low 720p resolution won’t change, which will likely disappoint handheld players.
Bloomberg reported that mass production for the display is supposed to start in June with an initial goal of 1 million units per month. Nintendo will have to wait for other parts as well, of course, but this suggests a new Switch could arrive this year.
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Samsung's OLED displays are pentile, so I would be pretty disappointed if it's used for a portable console. For every pixel the hardware renders, only 2/3rd of a pixel is displayed. Also they are laid out in more of a chain-link-fence diamond pattern instead of a square grid, so straight lines look jagged. That's not great for text, pixel art, and classic Nintendo games. To me, they only look good at crazy-high (pseudo) pixel densities, which is a waste of rendering power and battery life. The QHD screen on my phone looks like it has a FHD screen, essentially. Which still looks good on a phone.. But you look at an older "720p" Samsung OLED screen on something like a Galaxy S3, it's pretty chunky. The jagged text is super distracting. That's probably the approximate pixel density and price/quality bracket for what Nintendo would use if they put a 7 inch1080p screen in the Switch. Maybe they could brute-force their way around some of that with a 1440p screen and a good upscaler, but I wouldn't expect Nintendo to chase numbers like that.Reply
At least the color is nice ot these oleds, and they've gotten better at making the screens visible in sunlight and glare.
There's nothing stopping Samsung from either 1. making a standard RGB array OLED or 2. Providing a pentile display meant for QHD devices to avoid issues with subpixel subsampling.Reply
Nintendo might join Sony and Microsoft in the next-gen console market sooner than expected.That seems unlikely, especially for something with the Switch's form factor. More likely, this will be a less significant half-generation update running the same games as the original, and if there are any performance enhancements, they will be relatively minor. Any 4K output of games from the device will likely be upscaled. Things like battery life and weight could also see improvements though.