The Nintendo Switch has finally been cracked. Well, technically, it's been cracked ages ago, but not at this level. Homebrew developers have released the first publicly available Android firmware for the gaming console. The ROM is a take on the Android 8.1-based LineageOS 15.1.
At present, the software is still riddled with bugs, including issues with battery life, auto-rotation, and touchscreen input — regardless, the core functionality of being able to run Android on a system not officially designed to support it, is there.
Switch Runs Android Now
With this, the Switch essentially becomes a small tablet that runs what's perhaps the world's most popular mobile operating system. Which is to say this will no doubt leave the platform more vulnerable to hacking and modification. Theoretically, on a Nintendo Switch running Android, a person can do anything they would on a regular Android-based device, such as surf the web, play 3D games, and perform many other things.
The software is also based on the Android tree associated with the Nvidia Shield TV, which means Tegra-exclusive titles such as Borderlands and Half-Life 2 will run. The Android Switch runs in both docked and undocked modes, the audio and Joy-Con controllers seemingly work without any snags, and there's even an optional "Shield-ifier" mode that turns the Switch into an Nvidia Shield TV.
Here's Why You Should Be Careful
Of course, as Engadget notes, there are caveats to this. Even for people who can tolerate the bugs, they will not be able to rely on Nintendo in case things go really wrong. Plus, a hackable Switch system might be required for this to work, which leaves newer revisions of the console likely ineligible. This is still pretty new territory at the moment, but expect more news to come shortly thereafter. Needless to say hackers will have a field day now with the Switch moving forward, which is to say from here on out, literally anything is possible.
Those who want to experiment on their Switch system should visit XDA's website for more information. It's worth noting, however, that great caution must be taken with these kinds of endeavors. It's very likely Nintendo has already caught wind of this news and is promptly taking measures to implement tougher safeguards to the system. Those who modify their Switch consoles also risk being banned from Nintendo's online multiplayer channels, so those who enjoy battling against online players on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate should tread lightly.
Thoughts on the Switch finally being able to run Android? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!