Yesterday, Nintendo released a firmware update for the Switch. Aside from the ability to swap data between the hard drive and SD card, the most exciting part of ver. 10.0.0 was the ability to remap Pro Controller and Joy-Con buttons. However, a potentially groundbreaking piece of information regarding a new Switch model has been found in the update data. Vulnerability researcher Mike Heskin states that a new hardware model identified as “nx-abcd” is referenced in the data, and there is even evidence that it may involve an exclusive secondary display.
Firmware 10.0.0 adds preliminary support for a new hardware model: "nx-abcd".
3 of the 5 new DRAM profiles are for this new hardware type and there's evidence of a secondary display of sorts being added exclusively on this model.
( ?° ?? ?°)
— Mike Heskin (@hexkyz) April 14, 2020
DRAM above refers to dynamic random access memory, and the settings profiles for this in Nintendo Switch would be different between the standard model and the Switch Lite. The presence of new profiles hints that Nintendo is at least considering these DRAM settings for a potential future console.
So it’s looking like the deeply rumored “Switch Pro” might be more of a when than an if. The part that’s got me buzzing with excitement, however, is the potential secondary display. Adding another screen to a new Switch model is something I haven’t seen discussed since before the original console was revealed. The possibilities here if correct have my mind reeling. Would it be a separate second screen in a controller like with the Wii U? Or would it be more like the DS family, with the display attached to the system? Or could we go even further and use our smart phones as a supplement to what we see on the TV or Switch? Regardless, it could transform the whole experience of gaming on Nintendo’s platform and open up a world of possibilities for developers.
This is all conjecture at this point, though. Nintendo hasn’t announced a new Switch model, and company president Furukawa even said that there would be no new hardware in 2020: “Regarding Nintendo Switch, we believe that it is important to continue to communicate the appeal of both Nintendo Switch systems and expand the installed base. Please note that we have no plans to launch a new Nintendo Switch model during 2020.”
I wouldn’t count an announcement in June out, though it seems a bit far out for a 2021 release. Still, it’s sensible that Nintendo is seemingly preparing for an improved Switch, with the competition releasing new consoles this year. At the very least, I can dream of playing some rare and difficult-to-find DS and 3DS games on the Switch should this all turn out to be true.