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Alienware unveils Switch Pro-like portable PC concept

Dell's gaming subsidiary showcases proposed hardware at CES 2020

It was perhaps inevitable that other hardware manufacturers would attempt to bottle the Nintendo Switch lightening, and Alienware certainly appears to be doing that with the Concept UFO.

Unveiled at CES 2020, this is a prototype of a portable PC with more than a few influences taken from Nintendo's popular console. It has removable controllers, which can be attached to a grip to form a more traditional gamepad when the Concept UFO is standing upright or plugged into a monitor.

It runs on Windows 10, according to Business Insider, suggesting users will be able to access their libraries on Steam, Epic Games Store, uPlay, etc.

The device has an 8-inch screen with a 1200p resolution, a marked improvement over Switch's 6.2-inch, 720p screen. But while the controllers can be removed, it does not appear they support two players like Nintendo's console.

The Concept UFO is powered by a 10th generation Intel processor, supports connectivity like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, has two USB-C ports and can be controlled with a keyboard and mouse if you so choose.

A full unveiling will be livestreamed later today. As of yet, no price or release date has been announced -- this is, after all, a concept.

The Concept UFO has been announced at a time when rumours of a Switch Pro have re-emerged.

Reports have been doing the rounds over the past week that an enhanced version of Nintendo's console will be released later this year.

In our analysts' predictions round-up, Kantam Games' Dr Serkan Toto predicted such a model may will launch by the end of 2020, potentially priced at $399.

Until there's official word from Nintendo, it could be that Alienware's Concept UFO is the closest we get to a Switch Pro for a while.

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Latest comments (2)

Robert B. Healy III Mercenary for Hire A year ago
Not a new idea in the least. The Switch may've popularized it, but way back in early 2012, Razer showed off its concept for such a device, "Project Fiona," which the following year got a consumer release as the "Razer Edge" and "Razer Edge Pro." How quickly the internet forgets. At any rate, I predict this Alienware UFO device will meet the same fate the Edge did (obviously, since you forgot it even existed, you can assume it didn't succeed on the market), UNLESS they get the price right. The market could bear $500 for such a concept. MAYBE $600, but only portable gaming enthusiasts will bite at that price or higher (a small niche in the PC space). The Edge releasing at such an exorbitant price (as Razer is known to do, thinking themselves the Apple of the PC world) is what killed it. $1,000+? DOA. I knew many people who were interested in the device but never pulled the trigger because of its price. Somehow, I doubt Alienware will get it right either, as they're also known for overpricing their PCs. It'll probably take a Chinese company to kick the industry in the pants to make such a device that takes off with the mainstream. People are more price-sensitive now than they were last decade. The Switch is at a good price, hence its success. Heck, Switch Lite is only $200 if you don't care about playing on a TV. Can't beat that for a portable HD gaming experience. Many have tried before to make a portable PC gaming device. None have succeeded, all because of price. I can't see this UFO faring any better. 🤷‍♂️
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing A year ago
The interesting part of the device is the change in design philosophy on part of CPU/GPU supplier.

Consoles had the unique advantage that they were pairing as much GPU power as possible with as little CPU power as necessary. (within the defined budget)

The contrast were Office PCs, which paired as much CPU power as possible with as little GPU power as necessary. This lead to those CPUs being combined with dedicated GPUs and gave rise to the gaming PC and the way it is structured. It is an evolution of office PC design particularities. Even when AMD touted about "Gaming APUs", those were still very much skewered towards CPU power, not GPU power. The console segment had its own design philosophy and it was very much a protected space.

This device marks a change. This is no longer a CPU with integrated graphics or some other PR term that basically translates to trash graphics. This is an approach of taking the energy budget and designing a chip that performs well in games, not prime95. Combined with Windows, those chips are an attack on consoles.

That entire segment of graphic cards between $100 and $300, Intel will integrate that on one of their CPUs and destroy that market. Beyond that, Intel suggests you buy one of those fancy new NUCs.
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