The handheld gaming platform Steam Machine, from Smach, will be available for pre-order on November 10th. It will cost $299 and will start shipping in late 2016. It’s technically called the Smach Zero. We don’t know much about Smach. They’re a third-party developer, and they were exhibiting at Gamescom last weekend. This is the first time we’ve gotten more details on the Smach Zero other than “it exists.”
Now, as Ars Technica reports, we know the Smach Zero is an x86-based system with a 5-inch 720p resolution touchscreen. It’s meant to play all the Steam OS games that you would play on your non-portable Steam Machine. As they point out, the Smach Zero features touch pads on the front instead of thumb sticks. The pads will essentially function like thumb sticks, giving players a full range of motion when they drag their thumbs across the touch pad. This is a design that originated with the Steam Controller.
The Smach Zero will feature 4 GB of RAM with 32 GB of internal memory. It will have a slot for an SD card, as well as HDMI output and USB OTG. It can connect to wi-fi and Bluetooth, and the PRO model will have 4G connectivity.
It runs Steam OS, which is Steam’s Linux-based operating system. Smach Zero is supposed to be able to play “over 1,000” games from the Steam library at launch.
Non-portable Steam Machines, like the ones coming out from Alienware and CyberPower, will be able to stream games from your Steam library, though games on the machines must be compatible with Linux. There’s a list of Linux-compatible Steam games here.
This may not be the last handheld Steam OS device we see. Valve is not manufacturing first-party Steam Machines, instead leaving the hardware up to other companies while it focuses on the software and its vast game library. Steam OS is in beta right now and will be available to install on personal computers, as well as shipping on Steam Machines when they come out this winter.