GPD is reportedly working with Valve on getting SteamOS on its upcoming WIN Max 2 portable gaming PC. In a reply to a backer on the WIN Max 2's Indiegogo page (thanks GamingonLinux) GPD said that Valve had reached out about a "cooperating proposal" to get SteamOS onto the powerful handheld.
Handheld gaming PCs have been around long before the Steam Deck, but SteamOS has given Valve's little console an advantage. It lets you easily navigate and play games in your Steam library without too much fuss, and it doesn't incur the Windows tax that can add significantly to the overall price of the handheld.
GPD's full reply to the backer who asked about SteamOS integration reads: "Appreciate for your support! As earlier of March this year, Valve contacted us about cooperation proposal. But for this cooperation, Valve needs to match the appropriate Steam OS system for our 6800U handheld. We need to provide the device to Valve official, and Valve also has to improve the Steam OS system for the 6800U handheld, this process may take half year."
The WIN Max 2 is a mighty little portable gaming PC with a built-in gamepad and keyboard. It runs off your choice of an AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7 mobile processor, 16GB or 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB or 2TB NVMe SSD starting at $1,297. GPD has raised nearly $2 million through crowdfunding.
Since a lot of these handheld PCs are running Windows or Linux usually, you could theoretically install SteamOS by yourself. But it isn't optimized for those devices and likely doesn't have drivers for their hardware, meaning you could run into a bunch of issues. Having SteamOS built-in and officially supported with Valve's seal of approval would give some legitimacy to these Steam Deck rivals.
GPD later replied in the same thread that Valve contacted it "to consult if we are interested in the built-in SteamOS system" and said that "they can promote our products on the Steam official website, we will agree to this cooperation, we think this cooperation will be the best."
Valve told GamingonLinux it is "excited to eventually make SteamOS available for all devices, including handheld PCs manufactured by other companies," but had no news to announce related to GPD. I've reached out to Valve for more information on its SteamOS plans and will update if I receive a response.
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