GPD is working on an Android-powered modular handheld, the GPD-XP
GPD is a relatively well-known company when it comes to making portable gaming devices. Most of the company’s recent outings have been based on Windows and Intel processors, but the company’s next device will apparently buck that trend. Recently, the GPD-XP – an Android-based gaming handheld console – showed up on the company’s Discord channel.
Like most Android devices, the GPD-XP is powered by an ARM processor, which is rumored to be the MediaTek Helio G95. The GPD-XP is also said to feature 6GB of RAM, 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage (plus microSD card support), and 4G support, but only for internet access. Calls and SMS features will apparently be disabled. Plus, there’s no built-in microphone.
Being an Android handheld console, the true standout feature of the GPD-XP is the console-style controls. On the left, you get an analog stick and D-Pad, along with physical buttons for home, task manager, and back. On the right side, however, the controls are customizable and modular using a magnetic attachment system. You can attach a second analog stick with the classic ABXY buttons you’d find on a console, or use an alternate design featuring just four face buttons, tailored for MOBA games. This genre of game is especially popular on mobile, so it makes a ton of sense to have this option. The physical buttons on the controllers can be assigned to areas on the screen, for games designed completely around touch. You can also just not attach any controller on the right.
The device also comes equipped with a 6.81-inch display which comes in a very wide aspect ratio. It’s very apparent that GPD is sourcing smartphone displays for this device, and that’s even clearer considering it has a hole-punch camera. The camera is placed in the bottom left corner, so it shouldn’t cause much of an interruption while gaming, but it’s still interesting to see. The GPD-XP also comes with a 7000mAh battery, which is fairly large for what’s essentially an Android phone. GPD is touting 12-hour battery life with this unit.
The images shared so far come from China, and so the device is running a very custom build of Android. The international release will reportedly be running Android 11 and come with Google services. Switching to Android may seem like an odd choice for some gamers, but mobile games are extremely popular. Plus, there are quite a few console emulators on Android, too, if you’re willing to dive into that side of things.
There’s no indication yet of what the price will be for the GPD-XP, but it’s yet another contender in the portable gaming space. Nintendo is still seeing great success with its Switch and planning a refresh with the Switch OLED. Valve recently announced the Steam Deck, and it looks like GPD wants to keep having a presence in the market. At the end of the day, these devices target somewhat different crowds, but that also means you get to choose what suits you better.