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Nvidia’s Project SHIELD confirmed: handheld Android gaming device for console quality gaming

Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang wasn’t only on stage to announce the company’s new Tegra 4 mobile processor (and their new GRID cloud gaming servers), but also let loose a device with which to showcase its potential. Project SHIELD was unveiled at CES in Las Vegas just last night, unifying Nvidia’s long-standing relationship with PC gamers and the new wave of Nvidia fans brought in from mobile devices using their Tegra architecture.

Nvidia Project SHIELD

The new quad-core Tegra 4 chipset lies at the heart of Project SHIELD so gamers will be able to interact with a vast array of games not only from Google Play; thanks to the fact that it natively runs Android, but with compatible Nvidia Keplar-based graphics cards in their desktop PCs. which will allow them to stream full fat PC titles locally over their WiFi network. What’s more, the HDMI-out built into the controller, can then push those PC games (or Android games) to your HDTV without the need to bring your whole PC down to your TV.

What specifications does Project SHIELD have?

Specs for Projects SHIELD are slim on the ground, with the processor being the main attraction, but likely more detailed information will appear closer to launch.

  • Processor: Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor
  • Screen: 5-inch 720p HD multi-touch display
  • Storage: Unknown, microSD compatibility
  • Connectivity: 802.11n 2×2 MIMO WiFi, microHDMI-out
  • Audio: External stereo speakers
  • Battery: 10200mAh (3400mAh x3)

What operating system will it run?

As we’ve already mentioned, Project SHIELD comes running Android. The latest version, Android Jelly Bean will hit the new gaming device which will allow gamers access to a myriad of games on offer amidst Google Play’s near 700,000 app store marketplace. There’s no word on upgradability as with phones, but we see no reason to doubt Nvidia in offering up newer versions of Google’s mobile OS down the line, perhaps with some features unique to Nvidia.

Nvidia Project SHIELD

What are the alternatives?

Project SHIELD appears to overlap somewhat with both mobile handsets and mobile gaming devices with regards to looking at alternatives. Its Tegra architecture points us towards devices like the HTC One X+ (powered by last year’s Nvidia Tegra 3 chip); which features gaming chops all its own thanks to the fact that it’s PlayStation Certified, or the highly successful Nexus 7 tablet, whilst pure gaming alternatives naturally take the shape of the Sony PlayStation Vita or the Nintendo 3DS XL. The desktop gaming functionality of Project SHIELD does give it a unique attribute that’s hard to compare.

When will Project SHIELD be available?

Estimated launch of the Project SHIELD to market is set for sometime in Q2 2013, but nothing more concrete than that has been officially discussed at this time.

What do we think?

Although the Tegra 4/Android Jelly Bean architecture is a fantastic foundation with which to build a gaming handheld, it’s the streaming functionality that really intrigues us. Not only does it offer an interesting alternative to game streaming services like OnLive, but it provides more flexibility to games at home, those who prefer PC gaming over console titles or want to play their favourite games anywhere in the house. It’ll be down to Nvidia to make sure it gets the marketing campaign deserved of such an innovative device, but one thing’s for sure, we can’t wait to test it out for ourselves, whether it’s play Dead Trigger 2 on Android or Dead Space 2 on our PC.

 

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