Microsoft has plans to turn smartphones into handheld Xbox consoles.

Microsoft filed a patent for a “charging device for removable input modules” last month, Digital Trends reported. The patent does not explicitly mention the term “Xbox,” but the illustrations included therein had some “X” logos similar to the ones found on Xbox consoles and controllers. The drawings also feature buttons and symbols resembling those on Xbox game controllers.

While the patent specifically mentions that it is for a charging device, the charging device itself is designed for use for “one or more input modules for a touch screen device.” Simply put, Microsoft plans to work on devices that can provide touch screen devices like smartphones with input controls -- perhaps the same way Nintendo’s Joy-Cons work with the Switch.

Aside from providing input controls, the controllers can also feature built-in speakers, headphone jacks, or support for wireless headphones.

Switch challenger

A designer tried to create mock up images based on Microsoft’s patent, and what she created revealed what appears to be the first viable Switch challenger.

The mockups, seen via Yanko Design, showed two Xbox-labeled controllers that can be attached to a smartphone. The controllers feature traditional XYAB buttons, a directional pad, two joysticks, a menu button, a view button, two left triggers and two right triggers.

The controllers also feature phone grip flippers used to hold on to attached smartphones, charging pins that will be used with the charging device the patent described, some openings for built-in stereo speakers and a 3.5mm headphone port.

The mockups come in three different colorways, all of them looking similar to how Microsoft’s Xbox console looks like: there’s a black, white and silver option reminiscent of the Xbox Elite controller; a black and white color scheme; and a traditional Xbox white, gray and green color combination.

Microsoft xCloud

While the mockups look like they were designed to go toe-to-toe with the Switch, they aren’t; Microsoft plans to use the controllers to bring its game streaming platform, Project xCloud, to as many people as possible.

The International Business Times previously reported that xCloud will allow players to play thousands of Xbox titles wherever they are. Titles include more than 3,500 existing titles belonging to the Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Titles that are being developed for the Xbox One can also be played on the platform.

Xbox A patent shows Microsoft's plan to turn smartphones into handheld Xbox consoles. Photo: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)