Originally using the codename "NX," Nintendo Switch hardware was first mentioned at a joint press conference between Nintendo and DeNA on March 17, 2015. It was briefly mentioned that the platform was in development, and the system would be detailed further in 2016. In their April 2016 earnings release, Nintendo announced that NX would release globally in March 2017.
On October 20, 2016, Nintendo announced the official name of the system would be the Nintendo Switch in a three minute reveal trailer. Nintendo stayed with the release month of March 2017. On January 17th, 2017, Nintendo confirmed the Switch launch date as March 3rd, 2017, at a price of $299. Launch titles include the long-anticipated Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata previously mentioned that their future platform(s) would be able to "absorb the Wii U architecture adequately" while clarifying that they would not use the exact same architecture again. Iwata also stated that they were not aiming to create a console/handheld hybrid device but that there might be an increase in form factors for their hardware devices and that they would be "like brothers in a family of systems."
This will be the first Nintendo hardware developed with their formerly separate handheld and console hardware development teams integrated into one single team.
On July 10th, 2019 Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch Lite, a model of the Nintendo Switch dedicated to handheld play. The Switch Lite removes the ability to dock the console and connect to a television and so only supports games that can be played in handheld mode. As the Switch Lite is a single unit the Joy-Con are integrated into the main unit's hardware and a smaller 5.5 inch screen is used. The d-pad is redesigned and a smaller battery is used though a more power-efficient chipset is used to extend the battery life. The Switch Lite retains the gyroscopicsensors, bluetooth, wi-fi and NFC compatibility. Additional Joy-Cons or external controllers are compatible with the Switch Lite.
Players who attempt to purchase games which require a television or tabletop mode via the Nintendo eShop while using the Switch Lite are notified of the incompatibility. Some tabletop games which require the HD Rumble or IR camera features require players use a separately connected Joy-Con if playing on the Switch Lite.
The Switch Lite was released on September 20th, 2019.