Android comes to Nintendo Switch: how to install it

A group of independent developers managed to install Android on the Switch. Many potentials, but at the moment there are more limitations

There is little doubt that the Nintendo Switch is the most successful console in recent years. Despite the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One S (and of course the One X) can count on much better technical features, the small portable Japanese console has been able to conquer millions of users around the world thanks to its gameplay and versatility.

Features that soon could be even enhanced if a project shown on XDA Developers should receive the attention it deserves from Nintendo developers. Some independent programmers, in fact, have managed the feat of installing a customized version of Android on Switch. In practice, Nintendo's console has been transformed into a touchscreen version of the Nvidia Shield, the video game console with Android on board.

Android on Switch: how to install it

As you can see in the project specifications posted on the XDA Developers forum, the developers have used Lineage OS 15.1, a specially modified Linux distribution based on the Android kernel. To achieve this, they used the Hekate tool, which allows you to "flash" the console memory and install a new operating system. Thanks to this operation, it was possible to run on Switch Android games optimized to run on Nvidia's Tegra SoC such as Borderlands and Half-Life 2. This, of course, is just one of the many features "unlocked" with the new operating system. With Android on board, the Switch can be used to surf the web, check email, update social and much more.

Android on Switch, the limitations

It must be said, however, that the project appeared on XDA Developers is not supported by the Japanese company and suffers from quite a few limitations. For example, the touchscreen is not as responsive as it should be, while the battery is put under stress and consumes much faster than usual. The version of Android installed on the console, moreover, is made unstable by the presence of several bugs that, probably, will not be fixed (at least, this will not happen anytime soon).

In addition, in order to make Hekate work and flash the memory, it is necessary that the console is affected by a hardware bug known as Mariko. This vulnerability affects old Tegra chips and has been fixed in the latest versions of the Japanese console. So, if you were thinking of buying a brand new Switch to run Linux on it, you might want to reconsider.