A new version of a Steam Machine, called the Smach Zero, will open for pre-order on November 10. The handheld game console, previously known as the SteamBoy Project, can be bought at an early bird price of $299.
The Smach Zero is basically a portable version of a Steam Machine. To those unfamiliar, Steam Machines are PCs dedicated to running SteamOS so users can play HD video games on their computers. SteamOS is a Debian-based Linux variant developed by Valve Software.
Steam Machines are sort of the PC counterpart of gaming consoles like the Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation. The Smach Zero, meanwhile, appear to be trying to become a main player in the handheld gaming space; an arena which is currently dominated by Nintendo and PlayStation Vita. Engadget even called the upcoming handheld console as the "PS Vita of Steam Machines."
The device is the first SteamOS-operated mobile console. It features a 5-inch touchscreen display with 720p resolution. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, HDMI output and 4G LTE support for the PRO model.
Under the hood, the Smach Zero boasts of 4GB worth of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. A press release published earlier this year revealed that it will be powered by an "AMD embedded G-Series SoC 'Steppe Eagle' with Jaguar-based CPU and GCN-based Radeon graphics".
The console's key scheme sports "configurable tactile gamepads." That's similar to the newest version of the official Steam Controller which offers a control stick, two touch pads, along with 7 buttons on the front face and 6 at the back.
According to its manufacturer, the hardware specifications of the Smach Zero will enable it to support more than 1,000 Steam games at day one. The company claims the handheld's Jaguar-based CPU and GCN-based Radeon graphics processor should be good enough to play through SteamOS games such as BioShock Infinite, Dota2, Civilization V, Half-Life 2 and lots more.
Smach exhibited the upcoming device at the Gamescom event this weekend, where it announced its price along with a video showcasing the portable console's specifications.
As mentioned, the Smach Zero will go on sale on November 10 for $299, the same day other Steam Machine models from manufacturers like Cyberpower and Alienware will be released. Interested buyers can register their email here so they can be alerted when the pre-order goes live. However, the device will not actually begin shipping until the fourth quarter of 2016.