How the Nintendo Switch Almost Became a Cyanogen-Android Gaming Console

nintendo switch cyanogen android operating system

If Nintendo had had its way, then the Nintendo Switch would probably be an Android device with the OS customized by Cyanogen. Interestingly, the Japanese gaming icon approached Cyanogen, not Google, for a locked down version of Android that they could have better control over. But Cyanogen basically told them to “stick it” because it would violate what the company stands for.

Kirt McMaster, the Chairman at Cyanogen who told Nintendo to stick it, is the same one that said Cyanogen was going to be wildly successful, which it wasn’t. So, did Cyanogen just lose the opportunity of a lifetime, which could have included licensing rights for the life of Nintendo Switch?

What’s even more interesting is that McMaster is now open to the idea for a future version of Nintendo Switch:


Not that it’s any indication that Nintendo will ever approach Cyanogen again, but the telephony part is certainly interesting – a Nintendo Switch with the ability to double-up as a smartphone? Hmm.

That said, the Nintendo Switch will probably have a very long lifetime if sales are anything to go by.

Nintendo Switch sales continues the strong trend it set during launch week that started March 3, 2017. This month alone, between 2 and 2.5 million units of Nintendo Switch are expected to be shipped globally, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The report also shows that Nintendo expects to sell more than 10 million Nintendo Switch hybrid gaming systems in a 12-month period. During the fiscal year 2017, which runs from April 2017 to March 2018, Nintendo is looking to double its original production number from 8 million to 16 million.” –

If that’s the case, then that means sustainable sales for the next several years, just link Nintendo Wii, which sold over 100+ million units in total.

What that implies is that Nintendo may not be thinking about another Switch version for a while, unless they’re able to make a significant technological leap. What’s more likely to happen is that Nintendo may start working on a new console in another year or so but, after being rebuffed by Cyanogen, could go elsewhere for its OS needs.

The current Nintendo Switch system software that runs through the Switch’s veins is actually based on a FreeBSD kernel, so Nintendo may well take it to its next stage of evolution so it can create all the locked-down software it needs in-house. If that’s the case, then Cyanogen could be out for good.

It was a bad call made by Cyanogen during its early days, but the company now lives – whatever parts of it are left over from the big closure at the end of 2016 – to regret it.

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