Razer offers Switchblade CPU details

Peripherals specialist Razer has offered up a few more tantalising details about its attempt to take the world of PC gaming on the road with the hand-held Switchblade games console.

A distinct switch (sorry) in direction for the company - which has made a name for itself in gaming circles with a popular range of keyboards and mice - the Switchblade concept device packs a PC's power into a clamshell portable, allowing popular MMO games to be carried around in the gamer's pocket.

It's an intriguing concept, but one which has been met with scepticism from the community: massively multiplayer on-line games like World of Warcraft require a QWERTY keyboard and a mouse to play properly, and many wonder if such a combination can really make the move to a portable console intact no matter how clever its design.

Designed as a large hand-held console - or a remarkably small netbook, depending on your perspective - the Switchblade includes a seven-inch touch-screen display, an 'adaptive' OLED-equipped keyboard, and a redesigned user interface. The company has also announced deals with Chinese game makers including Tencent and ChangYou, who have agreed to develop revamped versions of their games that are better suited to the Switchblade's requirements.

Razer's chief executive Min-Liang Tan has announced a few more details of the device, starting with the fact that it will be the first computing system to market featuring Intel's upcoming Z690 Atom processor running at 1.7GHz.

"Intel is very excited to be working closely with Razer on the next generation of mobile handheld PC gaming," claimed Brad Graff of Intel's netbook and tablet division. "The Razer Switchblade concept takes advantage of the Intel Atom processor, providing the performance needed to run 3D PC games in a small and light form factor to enable mobile gaming at significantly less power than a traditional laptop."

Those familiar with the Atom will be wondering about Brad's claim of gaming-quality performance: the low-power chips are more commonly found in low-end netbooks and certain tablets, and aren't exactly well known for offering a top-end gaming experience.

Despite this, Razer is confident that the Switchblade can succeed. "PC gaming on a truly mobile platform has not been possible before the Razer Switchblade," Tan claimed, ignoring the existence of laptops - and, indeed, netbooks - which are quite happy to play the latest PC games while on the move. "Our work with Intel allowed us to not only optimise the performance of the hardware on this concept device, but also lay the foundation for future products that will fully utilise the innovative technologies first developed on the Razer Switchblade concept."

So far, Razer hasn't suggested when the device - which it is always careful to refer to as a 'concept' rather than an actual product - might be reaching the market.