In context: Released back in 2013, SteamOS promised to bring PC gaming to the living room and revolutionize the entire market. While Valve’s custom Linux distro has yet to achieve that (likely) impossible feat, a new competitor to the Steam Deck is arriving from gaming handheld maker Ayaneo.
Chinese manufacturer Ayaneo is bringing the first non-Valve handheld system based on SteamOS to market. The Linux-based operating system has so far been used to power the Steam Deck and the now-defunct Steam Machine hardware platform, but Ayaneo wants to provide a novel solution to gamers looking for a portable machine.
Ayaneo Next Lite is a budget version of the Next handheld that builds upon that design with ergonomic handles, different color choices and “high-end craftsmanship.” The specs disclosed so far include a 7-inch 800p screen, 47Wh battery, X-axis linear motors, and the same Hall sensing joystick found in other Ayaneo handhelds.
Pricing and availability may be disclosed tonight, suggesting that the Next Lite can deliver an enjoyable gaming experience while costing less than the Steam Deck, however the company is talking about opening “subscriptions,” which sounds like an alternative approach to a traditional one-time purchase or a crowdfunding campaign.
Ayaneo’s handheld will compete with the two Steam Deck models currently on offer by Valve: the standard LCD model is currently discounted to $349, while the newer OLED version starts at $550. Ayaneo has a long history of selling portable gaming devices, basing them mostly on Windows and more recently using AMD Ryzen processors.
The high-end Ayaneo Next is still being sold for the not-so-cost-effective price of $1,300. This model is available in two colors, with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Other hardware specs include a Ryzen 7 5825U CPU, Radeon Vega 8 GPU, a 7-inch 800P (1280×800) IPS screen. For the Lite version to make sense as a budget portable console, it will probably will have to do with lesser specs.