Whether you’re sore that Nintendo decided not to carry the Virtual Console over to the Nintendo Switch or you’re the kind of gamer who can’t own a piece of electronics without modding it (and we here at TR support both of you!), the team behind LineageOS has good news for you: Android is here for the Nintendo Switch.
To be totally clear, this isn’t any kind of official initiative, and there are a few hoops to jump through. You probably won’t be able to go out and grab a Switch off the shelf at Target and get it working, as it applies mostly to devices sold before July 2018, according to XDA Developers. That means it won’t work on that Switch revision with longer battery life, nor on the Switch Lite. But if your Switch falls in that space, you should be able to boot LineageOS 15.1 from an SD card.
First, let’s talk about what works. The build of Android being used here is based on the branch of Android used for Nvidia’s Shield devices, which use Tegra chips similar to that powering the Switch. That means that Tegra builds of titles like Half-Life and Portal will work. The jail-broken Switch works in both handheld and docked mode, and the Joy-Con controllers connect via Bluetooth, so you can use them for wireless play as well as handheld.
But there are some major things that don’t work. Auto-rotation and touch detection are spotty. While the console does charge when plugged in, it doesn’t detect that it’s charging right now. Deep sleep doesn’t work correctly, so the battery life isn’t optimal (and that’s after the already less-than-great 3-7 hours of battery life on the standard OS).
This one runs straight from the SD Card
With that said, LineageOS boots from an SD card, so it does’t actually touch the standard Switch OS. In other words, this a relatively harmless experiment.
The XDA community forum has a thread on the release with all the walk-through details, including specifics like getting the right OS build to match the size of your SD card and how to figure out whether your Switch will work with the ROM.
If you decide to boot up Android on your Nintendo Switch, let us know how it worked; what trouble did you run into, and what did you play once you got it working?