SteamOS goes mobile as SteamBoy battles PS Vita in handhelds

Most of us enjoy a casual game or two on our smartphones from time to time, but as handsets become ever more powerful, players are enjoying increasingly exciting and more advanced games on the move. But one manufacturer is hoping that the growth of smartphone gaming does not necessarily spell the end of the dedicated handheld console, as it prepares to launch a new device on #Valve’s Steam Machines platform. The SteamBoy handheld quietly announced at E3 2014. Built around a 5-inch touchscreen, the SteamBoy Machine squeezes a PC into a portable form-factor, for playing games through Valve’s digital distribution service on the go.

In addition to the touchscreen, there’s a pair of touchpads – just as on Valve’s own controller – and four triggers on the back. The SteamBoy also gets eight action buttons and another pair of keys on the rear.

Inside the portable console there’s an unnamed quadcore processor, paired with 4GB of memory and 32GB of storage space. There will be WiFi and 3G, according to The Escapist, though we would not be surprised if that was updated to LTE by the time the SteamBoy hits shelves.

“SteamBoy is the first device that allows you to play Steam games on the go,” says the company behind it, which is – a little confusingly – named SteamBoy Machine. “You will keep playing your favorite games at the bus stop, the office, the school or the doctor’s waiting room.”

That’s not expected to happen until 2015, however, and the team behind the SteamBoy is also being careful to make sure expectations are at the right level in the build-up to release. Its design clearly shares some commonality with the official (and redesigned) Steam Controller revealed earlier this year, with similar controls incorporated on the SteamBoy on both sides of its 5-inch touchscreen.

A spokesperson for the company added: “SteamBoy won’t be as powerful as other announced Steam Machines, in the same way [that the] Nintendo DS or PS Vita performance is not comparable to a Wii U or PlayStation 4. However, it will be possible to play the majority of current games in Steam.”

They suggest that SteamBoy should be able to handle “the majority” of the titles currently available through Steam, for instance. Nonetheless, they also point out that, just like a PS Vita is not on a par with a PS4 on power, neither will their portable necessarily match the sort of power a regular Steam Machine might have.

Pricing is yet to be announced.

Needless to say Linux Game News is really keen to get our hands on the handheld and test it out. Even more interesting will the graphical performance, and largely, what will the SteamOS footprint and performance look like?
Can we run FPS games or will the handheld be subject to platformers, RPG’s, or strategy games?

Looking at just specifications on their own, we have a sneaking suspicious this will be an Android based console, possibly similar to that of the nVidia Shield.

What are your thoughts and expectations for SteamBoy?

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