Nintendo Switch is a fantastic handheld console. Nintendo effectively fused a dockable tablet with detachable controllers (‘Joy-Con’) to come up with a hybrid.

Early speculations were suggesting the use of a custom Android based distro in Switch (codename: nx). It may sound hilarious, but Nintendo allegedly talked with now-defunct Cyanogen Inc. to handle the operating system.

The deal was not materialized though, and Nintendo designed their own OS called ‘Nintendo Switch system software’. It is more closer to the previous generation 3DS OS than Linux or Android, as investigated by researchers.

Nintendo Switch has been a victim of a coldboot vulnerability that allows full, unauthenticated arbitrary code execution. Dubbed as Fusée Gelée, the vulnerability directly affects the underlying NVIDIA Tegra SoC.

The discovery opened up the window for homebrew development and Switch modding. A full fledged Linux was booted by the fail0verflow group, who are also behind the ‘Fusée Gelée’ hacking.

The Tegra X1 SoC in Switch is also used in Google Pixel C and NVIDIA Shield Android TV, thus running Android on Switch is not a farfetched dream. Fast forward to February 2019, developer Billy Laws (ByLaws) actually kickstarted the porting initiative.

byu/markos365 from discussion

FYI, natinusala/Nathan S. is an eminent personality is Switch modding. He is maintaining Lakka Linux for Switch, which is powered by the RetroArch project.

RetroArch is a frontend for emulators, game engines and media players.

It enables you to run classic games on a wide range of computers and consoles through its slick graphical interface. Settings are also unified so configuration is done once and for all.

Based on ByLaw’s work, Max Keller have managed to boot an early version of Android Q on the Switch. Bluetooth, WiFi and even the Joy-Cons are working, albeit graphics stack needs reworking.

Converting Nintendo Switch to a tablet running Android sounds cool, but what about running Windows on it?

Veteran developer and ‘hacker’ Bingxing Wang, who is rather popular as imbushuo in the Windows on ARM porting community, has dropped the following yesterday:

No doubt it’s a huge progress! No only Windows is already booted in non-legacy mode and can enter recovery environment, it also suggests that an open source UEFI interface for Switch is cooking.

Another screenshot has shown the familiar Windows logo while booting.

He has also pushed the a work-in-progress repo for brining ARM64 Tianocore UEFI support for Nintendo Switch, which is essential for booting Windows (and other operating systems) in vanilla UEFI mode.

Reader may remember about our previous articles on Windows on ARM community developments, such as bringing Windows 10 on Lumia phones and running Windows 10 ARM on Raspberry Pi.

Well, imbushuo is involved with both of them as a part of Windows on ARM (WoA) Project. He still needs to fix some memory allocation issues, but we should hope for a nice installer package soon from José Manuel Nieto (@SuperJMN).

Spoiler alert!

Developers are secretly working on more operating systems besides Windows for Nintendo Switch.

Got a Switch? Have you jailbroken it already? Let us know by commenting below.

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Kingshuk De
896 Posts

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.

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