Logical Speculation about the dock, charging, and computing power. Stop worrying.

I see two questions floating around, the existence of which I find almost baffling:

  • Will the switch only be able to charge in the dock?
  • Will the dock have a co-processor?

I think the answers to these questions are obvious, given some thought.


Will the switch only be able to charge in the dock?

No. And here's why:

  • Logically speaking, why would any manufacturer make a device marketed primarily (or equally) as portable, while simultaneously tethering it to a non-portable device such as a dock. The answer: they wouldn't.

  • What other successful, and complex or very functional portable devices exist that charge only by way of a dock? I'm not talking TV remotes and vacuum cleaners. I mean tablets, computers, etc. The answer: Very few, to none.

  • However the dock charges, it will be via some kind of connector, that same connector could easily be on the end of a cable, or they would add a supplementary port. Nintendo wouldn't do something so stupid as to have the only charging method be contact pads or induction. See reasons above.

  • There's nothing special about the power delivery capabilities of a dock, vs a cable. There are plenty of high current charging technologies available that can provide 2-5 amps. Look at Ai, QC, etc.

  • And last, and probably the most important reason: By making the switch charge only in a dock, they alienate all the players who will be only mobile players. There are going to be a significant number of people who just want the mobile device, especially in Nintendo's main market: Japan. Doing anything different'y would be going against everything they know and have learned about their market for decades. It just won't happen.

Summary: Yes. You can charge it via cable.

Will the dock have a co-processor?

No. And here's why:

  • It's too complex and expensive. The console is the console. It's not part of the console. It's much more feasible, technologically, and financially, to use ONE board & chip that is too powerful and scale it way down when operating on battery power. If you add another chip, you need to add another board, a high bandwidth bus for communication between them, and architecture to support that through all of the layers of the hardware/firmware/etc.

    • This means increased hardware costs, increased complexity, increased development time, etc. It just doesn't make sense from any point of view.
  • If you only have one chip that you just scale down when you don't need full power, the dock will simply add the requisite current to run that chip at its full potential. One more powerful chip and all it's hardware is going to be considerably cheaper than multiple less powerful chips and the architecture to connect them, period.

  • And once again, another major reason is that using a co-processor design will alienate mobile-only players. These players will never get to play with their console at full potential if that's the case. These players will essentially be forced to by an expensive piece of hardware that they might not want, or be able to afford, just to get the most out of their system.

It just doesn't make sense on any level.


TL;DR: The switch dock isn't going to be the only charging method, and the dock isn't going to have a co-processor. Nothing else makes sense financially, technologically, or for the player experience.

Stop worrying. Nintendo knows what they are doing.

If I'm wrong about this, I'll eat whatever game cartridge comes with the Switch bundle.

Discussion started at October 23, 2016 at 03:16AM by grepcdn

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