Ayaneo announces the Next Lite, the first non-Valve handheld PC with SteamOS preinstalled

With a rather understated press release, Ayaneo announced a new model PC in its Next series of handheld PCs, the Next Lite. Why understated? Because Ayaneo decided to not make too much of a fuss about its standout feature: It’s the first non-Valve handheld product to use SteamOS as the operating system.

The announcement itself (as spotted over at Videocardz) is a little thin on details, unfortunately, but the Next Lite will come equipped with a 7-inch 800p screen and a 47Wh battery. Fans of Ayaneo’s products may recognise those figures from another model and it just so happens that the current Next Pro has the same size IPS panel and battery.

That little PC is powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 5825U, which is two years old now, so hopefully the Next Lite will come with something more recent, such as the Ryzen 7 7840U (as used in the Ayaneo Air 1S) or even the latest Ryzen 7 8840U.

However, the Next Pro launched with a $1,215 price tag and since Ayaneo is promising that the Next Lite will be ‘lowering the entry barrier while further popularizing numerous flagship features’, then there’s a good chance that one of the slower 7040U chips may get used.

No matter what processor it does use, it’s great to see SteamOS finally be used on another handheld PC. When our hardware bosslord Dave last spoke to Valve, they were very keen on getting its operating system on other machines, with the initial focus being handhelds.

That makes perfect sense, of course, as SteamOS these days is very much centered around the Steam Deck. So adapting it for other portable platforms will be much easier than for a full desktop PC. To be honest, I’m a little surprised that Ayaneo hasn’t made more fuss about using SteamOS, because it’s the biggest advantage that Valve’s pocket pooter has over all the Windows-based machines.

(Image credit: Ayaneo)

More on the Steam Deck

(Image credit: Future)

Steam Deck OLED review: Our verdict on Valve’s handheld.
Best Steam Deck accessories: Get decked out.
Steam Deck battery life: What’s the real battery life?
Best handheld gaming PC: What’s the best travel buddy?

In the past, Ayaneo has been somewhat reticent to discuss its plans concerning SteamOS and as this new venture is not a direct collaboration with Valve, I should imagine that they want to test the waters first.

As with all of Ayaneo’s products, the Next Lite will be crowdsource funded, so there’s no guarantee that it will even come to market (though I strongly suspect it will). Funding subscriptions are expected to start 11 January, though I’ve yet to see any page specifically for it.

We’ve contacted Ayaneo to try and get more details about the Next Lite, and we’ll report back if we learn more about the insides. For now, we can just look at the pictures and hope that the Next Lite is the first of many handheld PCs coming out in 2024 that sport SteamOS.

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