The Nintendo Switch rumor mill is turning once again as the console has just turned four years old. A new report by Bloomberg indicates that the Japanese gaming giant is preparing to launch a new revision of the console this year, though a good while later than suggested in previous reports.
This time, though, there’s a bit more information, as Bloomberg’s sources state that Nintendo is sourcing larger 7-inch displays from Samsung Display, as opposed to the 6.2-inch and 5.5-inch panels of the current Switch and Switch Lite. The biggest difference here is that these displays will be using OLED technology instead of the LCD panels found in the existing models of the Switch. The OLED display should offer better battery efficiency, more contrast, and potentially better response times, according to Yoshio Tamura, co-founder of consultancy firm DSCC.
One thing that some might find unfortunate is that the panel being sourced will still be 720p, so the larger size won’t come with an accompanying increase in resolution, meaning the pixel density will be lower than the current model. However, the console will come with some form of 4K support when docked to a TV, meaning there will be an even bigger gap between the handheld and TV experiences. On the bright side, that should help the console’s battery last longer and allow the chipset to run cooler.
The report also further clarifies that Nintendo is sourcing rigid OLED displays, as opposed to flexible ones as seen in most of today’s smartphones. Flexible displays have been typically used because they make it possible to reduce the bezels around the screen to minimal sizes, but they’re naturally more expensive. Still, it’s expected that the new Switch model will use the same casing, so bezels will still be reduced from the current iteration.
As noted in the report, the partnership between Nintendo and Samsung would benefit both sides, as Samsung has seen prices for rigid OLEDs drop due to oversupply, while Nintendo manages to secure a partner during a time when display-related components are seeing supply shortages.
Samsung Display is said to be preparing the displays to be shipped to assemblers in July, so a launch in 2021 seems to make sense, and it would help prop up the Switch’s appeal for the holiday season as the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft start to grow their audience after a full year on the market. Of course, it’s up to Nintendo to make these plans official, so we’ll have to wait until then.