Gaming startup Wonder is building an Android-powered Nintendo Switch competitor

From The Verge: Andy Kleinman, the CEO and co-founder of secretive startup Wonder, thinks the game industry is finally ready for a truly hybrid piece of hardware — and he’s not talking about the Nintendo Switch. Sitting in The Verge’s San Francisco office late last month, he pulls what looks like a standard Android smartphone out of a mesh black case. It’s sleek, square cornered, and sports a massive screen.

As good as it looks, it’s still a prototype device, crafted by notable Silicon Valley industrial designer Yves Behar. Wonder hopes it will be the centerpiece of an entertainment ecosystem for gamers and gadget heads who are fans of forward-looking tech. Unlike a standard Android phone, this device is running a custom layer of software, tentatively called WonderOS, that lets the company overclock the phone’s graphics processor like it were a PC gaming rig and allows the device to beam the display to a television when docked, much like a Switch.

“Everyone has the same exact product,” Kleinman, whose game industry experience comes from a stint at Zygna and at a studio acquired by Disney, says of the oversaturated mobile market. “They position it the same way by going after the masses. Nobody has anything unique. Apple is basically crushing everybody because Apple is all about the ecosystem.” Kleinman wants to build an ecosystem, too, but one that revolves around gaming and a love of niche gadgets and online communities. Effectively, Kleinman wants to make a device akin to Android co-founder Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone with its focus on enthusiast consumers, but with a gaming and entertainment bent.

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