New Nintendo Switch “Operating System” App Turns It Into An iPad, Sort Of

The Nintendo Switch is now one step closer to being an all-in-one portable machine with the launch of the nOS. This new app may not bring a web browser or Netflix to your console, but it does give you a few new tools to use between games.

The nOS, or “new operating system” as developer and publisher RedDeer Games calls it, adds the bones of an operating system to your Nintendo Switch. The nOS lets you take notes, make to-do lists, and crunch numbers.

The nOS adds a calculator, limited gallery of pre-selected images, notebook, to-do list, MS paint-like app, and simple puzzle minigame within a separate piece of software on your Nintendo Switch. One drawback is that despite being positioned as an operating system, these utilities can only be accessed through the app itself; there’s no way at the system level to jump directly into taking notes or adding to your to-do list. It’s now available on the eShop for $40, although a limited-time sale drops that all the way down to $2.

nOS’s puzzle mini-game has three separate difficulties. | Provided by RedDeer.Games

The app, while incredibly bare bones, positions itself uniquely in Nintendo’s ecosystem as few other games like it exist, making it one of the few options available for adding extra functionality. One of the only ways to get a reliable and functioning to-do list on your Switch is to download nOS, which says a lot about how little Nintendo has added to the Switch since it launched. Other apps for note taking, for example, are out there.

The Nintendo Switch released with lackluster entertainment options in 2017. It didn’t have many standalone apps like the ones included here, no streaming platforms like Netflix, and no web browser. That sort of functionality hasn’t improved much in the last six years.

Everything within the nOS worked as expected after several hours of pre-release usage. All sections of the game could be accessed via controller buttons or the touchscreen and the nOS used very little battery during that time. The puzzle and painting applications were nothing more than simple distractions that held my attention for a few minutes.

This type of functionality is mostly targeted at folks who don’t use other devices for tracking tasks or taking random notes. The nOS makes the Switch a more acceptable option for flights, car rides, or other scenarios where you may not want to switch between devices for something as simple as some statistics accounting for Fire Emblem Engage.

A trailer for nOS on YouTube is full of comments wishing this were an actual operating system for the Nintendo Switch. It’s unlikely that’ll ever happen though now that we’re six years into the consoles lifespan and Nintendo has never said it’ll be anything more.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors.
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