There’s a lot of excitement around gaming handhelds right now. The Steam Deck, as well as competitors such as the ASUS ROG Ally, have sparked a new interest in handhelld gaming beyond what the Nintendo Switch can offer, thanks to their compatibility with PC games and a more open software experience. Qualcomm, the company behind the chipsets found in most Android phones and tablets (and some Windows laptops) also wants a piece of the gaming handset cake.
Qualcomm has announced the new Snapdragon G series of gaming System-on-a-Chip (SoC) designs. The lineup, as it stands right now, is made of three products: the Snapdragon G1, the G2, and the G3. They will launch to the market using the exact same branding Qualcomm’s current smartphone CPUs use — the first G1 chip will launch as the Snapdragon G1 Gen 1, the G2 chip will be the Snapdragon G2 Gen 1, and the G3 series (which is on its second iteration now) as the Snapdragon G3x Gen 2. Some of you might be able to remember the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1, the chip that powered the Razer Edge 5G gaming handheld. Qualcomm is not only announcing a successor to that chip, but turning Snapdragon G into a proper range of SoCs for gaming.
As for the difference between them, the G1 Gen 1 is geared towards cloud gaming primarily, while the G2 Gen 1 is good for both cloud gaming and regular Android gaming. The G3x Gen 2 is made to crush through Android games. Of course, these chips are for Android gaming handsets, which are not really the same as the type of gaming handsets the Steam Deck spawned. Those run PC games, while these Android handsets can run Android games and, at best, emulate some older consoles as well.
There are some good games on Android, but most games are casual-style games that either have very strong social elements to them or have lots of microtransactions — both, even. With the rise of Android gaming handsets, developers might feel more motivated to release actual games on Android. Or many of them will just settle with cloud gaming being an okay replacement.