Jan 25, 2024 4 min read

AYANEO ditch Linux in favour of Windows for their NEXT LITE handheld

Handheld maker AYANEO changes course, announcing that their NEXT LITE device won't use HoloISO for its operating system, and instead will ship with Windows 11.


Handheld maker AYANEO changes course, announcing that their NEXT LITE device won't use HoloISO for its operating system, and instead will ship with Windows 11.

Device maker AYANEO have announced something of a U-turn, with a new update confirming that their upcoming NEXT LITE budget handheld will no longer ship with HoloISO (the Linux-powered SteamOS like operating system), and will now ship with Windows 11 by default.

This about turn was announced on the company's X (formerly Twitter) account, explaining that the change was made due to "valuable feedback" from players who are said to have indicated a "continued preference for a Windows operating system".

This is a somewhat curious change of course from AYANEO, as the NEXT LITE garnered plenty of interest for being one of the only handheld PCs (other than the Steam Deck) touting Linux support out of the box. It's also an interesting glimpse into the rather malleable state of product strategy and product direction at AYANEO.

The company first announced the NEXT LITE earlier this month, touting it as a a SteamOS device. This point was later clarified however to detail that the device would in fact be shipping with the HoloISO distribution — which is essentially a SteamOS clone of sorts.

Update: The AYANEO Next Lite is an exciting upcoming budget-handheld
The AYANEO Next Lite is a budget handheld and the first third-party device with SteamOS pre-installed.

Now, this promised Steam Deck like experience won't be available on the $299 NEXT LITE out of the box, as the device will now come with Windows 11 64-bit Home Edition pre-installed.

AYANEO were keen to point out in their statement however that players can still chose to install HoloISO on their own if they so wish.

Despite going the Windows 11 route, their statement on X even shares the merits of the "streamlined and efficient" HoloISO, telling folks how they can still go about downloading it.

It's a curious move, and I'm not wholly convinced by the reasoning shared for the change of course here. As Liam Dawe, writing at Gaming on Linux, points out this rejigging "is a shame to see" adding that this device "could have helped to continue the Linux push for gaming".

Our wait for an alternative Linux handheld continues.

Interview: AYANEO’s CEO Arthur Zhang wants to make the best handheld in the world
In our interview with AYANEO CEO Arthur Zhang, we asked him about handhelds, the Steam Deck, and what the ultimate handheld would look like.

AYANEO's NEXT LITE 'Benefits Upgrade Announcement' statement in full can be found below:

Greetings to everyone! Since released, AYANEO NEXT LITE has garnered widespread attention from gamers and media. The NEXT LITE inherits the design language of "Exploration" and the ergonomic grip of "NEXT," combining vibrant colors with high-end craftsmanship. Its sophisticated appearance and top-notch quality instantly captivate, making it a truly irresistible choice. Moreover, it features the Hall Sensing Joystick, a standard accessory in high-end handheld gaming devices, providing players with a finely tuned control experience that is hard to match among products in the same price range. With a 7" 800P high- brightness screen, a 47h large-capacity battery, X-axis linear motors, and other features, the NEXT LITE continues the lineage of delivering a lasting and enjoyable gaming experience. Building upon the foundation of top-tier flagship design and quality, the NEXT LITE seamlessly integrates cost-effectiveness, lowering the entry threshold while further popularizing numerous flagship features. It aims to offer an elevated experience to a broader audience, allowing them to savor the endless joy and convenience of handheld gaming.

Following the announcement of the operating system for AYANEO NEXT LITE, players and friends have shown great interest and engaged in lively discussions. Some players provided feedback indicating the continued preference for a Windows operating system. "Real Gamers, Know Gamers," and in response to this valuable feedback, we are pleased to announce that AYANEO NEXT LITE will come pre-installed with the genuine Windows 11 64-bit Home Edition operating system. Of course, players can still choose to install HoloISO on their own. AYANEO's official website provides HoloISO system images that are officially adapted and compatible for players to download and experience. The streamlined and efficient HoloISO system aims to offer players a more convenient game management, smooth and stable gaming performance, lower overall power consumption, and native compatibility with both controllers and touchscreen operations. This approach aligns with the gaming habits of handheld device users, providing players with a richer selection of operating systems.
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