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Steam Deck gets its first SteamOS competitor from Ayaneo

The Ayaneo Next Lite won't feature Windows 11 and will instead be the first gaming PC handheld since the Steam Deck to use SteamOS.

The Ayaneo Next Lite handheld

January 12, 2024, 06:50 PT: Ayaneo has since clarified that the Next Lite will use HoloISO, an unofficial alternate version of SteamOS not maintained by Valve. The original article follows.

The Steam Deck has seen plenty of challengers since its arrival, but all have used Windows rather than SteamOS as their operating system. Now, almost two years since the launch of Valve’s pocket rocket, a new handheld from Ayaneo will be the first third-party device to use the Linux-based OS.

A large part of why the Steam Deck reigns supreme as the best gaming handheld is down to its operating system. Even with its flaws, SteamOS simply offers a far more intuitive software experience than any solution found in a Windows handheld. Now, we’ll soon learn what it feels like to use it without Valve at the helm.

Announced via a blog post on the Ayaneo website, the company has announced its next handheld: ‘Next Lite’. While we don’t know what APU will power the device, we do have a few crumbs to go on when it comes to its wider specifications.

The Ayaneo Next Lite specs are:

Display 7.0-inch (1280 x 800)
Battery 47WHr
Storage TBC
Weight TBC
Size (W x D x H) TBC

The Next Lite will feature a 7-inch display with a native resolution of 800p, while the panel type hasn’t been confirmed it’s likely to be IPS. This screen and the rest of the handheld’s innards will be powered by a 47WHr battery, a touch smaller in capacity than the 50WHr found in the Steam Deck OLED but larger than the 40WHr in the Steam Deck LCD.

Curiously, Ayaneo is describing the Next Lite as a “value-for-money” option. This indicates, it won’t mirror the likes of the ROG Ally or Legion Go, as well as the recently announced Claw, and should give the Steam Deck a run for its money (literally).

The Ayaneo Next Lite handheld

Its value, however, will ultimately be determined by performance, which we can’t begin to estimate until we know Ayaneo’s processor plans in more detail. Thankfully, we shouldn’t have to wait too much longer to find out, as more details should be forthcoming on January 11, 09:30 PM (EST).

Check out our MSI Claw preview for more details on yet another Steam Deck competitor.