The operating system powering “a certain portable” from Nintendo was almost built by former Android mod team, now Android company, Cyanogen Inc. according to a now-deleted tweet from Cyanogen boss Kirt McMaster.
McMaster claimed in the tweet that Nintendo had approached his company in its early days but said that he “told them to stick it.” Cyanogen has been around since 2009, but as GamesBeat notes, console development takes a few years before it actually sees the light of day. The 3DS or Wii U are possibilities here, but the timing is cutting it pretty close on those systems. Cyanogen would’ve been established as a much more legitimate organization, rather than a mod team, around the time Nintendo would’ve approached them about the Switch.
There’s still Android DNA inside the Switch, though
Nintendo ended up building a custom operating system for the handheld, but McMaster says parts of Android still remain:
— Kirt McMaster (@kynprime) March 21, 2017
That’s hardly a surprise; the hardware powering the Switch is a modified version of Nvidia’s Tegra X1 hardware, which also powers the Nvidia Shield, which is itself an Android device. That’s just another reason the Switch seems the likeliest of Nintendo’s systems to have run Android.
How Nintendo on Android would be different from the system’s existing OS is hard to guess, but it would’ve been cool to see the former mod team behind a major console’s software.