One insight missing from the report is that Nintendo’s original primary supplier of LCD panels, Japan Display Inc, made far fewer Switch screens in 2017 than they did in 2016. According to one Nikkei report, that switch may be due to JDI shifting gears as a company, and focusing more on OLED panel production than on LCD, in the past year.
That report did not hint at JDI making such a switch in anticipation of Nintendo demanding higher-quality panels for future hardware.
The report does not otherwise clarify what might change in the next Switch, with details about processing power, screen resolution, form factor, and compatibility with existing Joy-Con controllers remaining unclear. “Nintendo is still debating” what could come in a newer Switch, the says, and “cost” is one factor in the discussions.
While Nintendo Switch has performed exceptionally well at international retail since its 2016 launch, the company has at least one reason to push so quickly for a new system revision: a major jailbreak that exploits the primary Nvidia Tegra system-on-chip (SoC) behind the home-portable hybrid console. Since that jailbreak’s disclosure, Nintendo has rolled out a Switch hardware revision that reportedly includes a patch in its boot ROM. Without that patch, every cat-and-mouse attempt by Nintendo to update older Switch systems’ firmware may always be susceptible to the incredibly effective “Fusée Gelée” exploit.
Nintendo has a rich history of re-releasing hardware with slight upgrades and aesthetic tweaks, though the game publisher’s portable systems tend to receive revisions sooner—and often with slight upticks in features or processing power, dating back to the Game Boy Color’s bump in specs from the original Game Boy. The Nintendo Switch has at least one clear path to a slight upgrade, since it currently runs faster (and aims for up to 1080p resolution) when resting in an official Switch TV Dock. A bump up from its current 720p LCD resolution, and a more heat-efficient SoC, could lead to that 1080p target being more reasonable in an updated Switch’s portable mode.
Nintendo representatives did not immediately respond to our questions about the report.