Update (June 2, 2015): In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, an unnamed Nintendo spokesperson said, “There is no truth to the report that says we plan to use Android for NX.” That’s a pretty strong denial for a company whose usual stance is to simply not comment on rumors or speculation.
Original Story: So far, Nintendo has had little to say about its upcoming Nintendo NX console other than that it exists and that it’s a “new hardware system with a brand new concept.” Now anonymous reports are starting to trickle in to fill that lack of information, with Japan’s business service Nikkei reporting that the console will be based on the Android operating system.
According to translations from Kotaku and a NeoGAF user, Nikkei quotes an unnamed “insider” as saying that the NX is “operating system loaded with Android.” The intent, the insider says, is to make the NX a more open platform that more easily allows ports from third-party developers, who have largely abandoned the Wii U for other consoles of this generation. An Android-based system would also allow NX games to be easily moved to mobile devices, the source said, a move that fits with Nintendo’s recently announced plans to create mobile games in partnership with DeNA.
If that’s true, using Android underpinnings doesn’t really tell us much about the specific form the Nintendo NX will take. While the operating system is best known for its use in mobile phones, Android has appeared in everything from point-and-shoot cameras to refrigerators. And let’s not forget that Nintendo initially marketed the Wii U as a system that would allow for a lot of third-party developer support and games that could be easily ported from other high-end systems.
Still, using an open operating system already familiar to thousands of developers would be a big change for a company that tends toward an isolated focus on its own highly customized hardware and first-party software development. It’s just a rumor for now, but it’s the kind that would justify Nintendo’s talk of a “brand new concept” for its next foray into console hardware.