When the Ayaneo Next Lite was unveiled on January 10, Ayaneo claimed that the device would come pre-installed with SteamOS, which would’ve made it the first handheld PC not affiliated with Valve to operate on SteamOS by default. Now Ayaneo has backtracked on that announcement entirely, saying the device comes installed with a third-party version of the app.
When Ayaneo revealed more about the Next Lite, it clarified in its official Discord that “we are using third-party SteamOS, not official SteamOS,” according to The Verge. It has since updated the blog post announcing the device and explained on Ayaneo Next Lite’s official product page that it’ll instead come preinstalled with HoloISO.
“This project attempts to bring the Steam Deck’s SteamOS Holo redistribution into a generic, installable format, and provide a close-to-official SteamOS experience,” HoloISO creator theVakhovskelsTaken explains on its GitHub page. “Main point of this project focuses on re-implementing proprietary (as in runs-only-on-deck) components that Steam client, OS itself, gamescope, and user-created applications for Deck rely on and making me learn Linux in a fun and unique way.”
Ayaneo says the version of HoloISO the Next Lite uses has been “optimized” by the company to work well on the device; in turn, this is supposed to allow for more stable performance, lower power consumption during play, controller and touchscreen compatibility, and more. Essentially, this means the device will use an unofficial operating system based on SteamOS that shares many of the Steam Deck’s features but won’t use SteamOS itself.
It’s unclear why Ayaneo initially misled people about the device’s use of SteamOS. Thankfully, the other technical specifications Ayaneo outlined in the Next Lite’s announcement appear to be still accurate. This means you can still expect this portable PC to have a 7-inch 800P IPS screen, a 47Wh battery, and hall-sensing joysticks.
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