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Xbox handheld gaming console reportedly on track for a 2026 launch

Microsoft is developing an Xbox-branded handheld console (image via Xbox)
Microsoft is developing an Xbox-branded handheld console (image via Xbox)
Jez Corden, a reputed source for Xbox-related leaks, has confirmed Microsoft plans to launch a handheld gaming console. However, it is in early stages of development and might not be unveiled until 2026.

Plans for Microsoft's handheld gaming console were revealed via some FTC documents unearthed last year. The rumour mill has been largely silent since then, with one creator stating that it will draw inspiration from the Nintendo Switch's design. Now, industry insider and Windows Central's Managing Editor Jez Corden has confirmed that an Xbox handheld is still on the cards.

In the Xbox Two Podcast, Corden says that Microsoft will not abandon the prospect of a handheld console due to the rising popularity of portable gaming devices. However, the supposed Xbox handheld will not be launched this year, or even the next. The device is still in very early stages of development with multiple prototypes floating about.

This ties in with the recent Xbox devkit certified for use in South Korea. While it is believed to be the rumoured diskless Xbox Series X, there is no reason for Microsoft to launch an entirely new devkit for what is essentially the same hardware. Its presence in South Korea could hint at a collaboration with Samsung in some capacity.

Given it is nearly two years from launch, it is difficult to determine what the putative Xbox handheld will pack. If Microsoft goes down the Intel route, it can pick between Panther Lake or Nova Lake processors. Its Team Red equivalent could include parts with a Zen 6 CPU and RDNA 5 iGPU. If the Snapdragon X Elite performs as advertised for gaming, an Arm CPU could also be on the cards.

A 1080p handheld with near Xbox Series S-tier performance and Game Pass integration should sell like hotcakes, especially with the right price tag. That said, the handheld market will get a lot more crowded by 2026. It will face stiff competition from next-gen refreshes of the Steam Deck, Asus ROG Ally, MSI Claw and Nintendo Switch.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 03 > Xbox handheld gaming console reportedly on track for a 2026 launch
Anil Ganti, 2024-03-25 (Update: 2024-03-25)