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Nvidia Shield gaming handheld priced and dated

Remember Nvidia’s ambitious Project Shield? The company has decided to turn it into a fullly fledged product named Nvidia Shield. The portable gaming handheld will reportedly go on sale in late June, although pre-orders for the product begin in the United States on May 20th.

Specifications for the unit haven’t changed, with the handheld featuring an Nvidia Tegra 4 chip along with a 5-inch 720p IPS display. Other specs include a 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, and 802.11n Wi-Fi along with Bluetooth 4.0. There’s also microHDMI output for gaming on the big screen, plus a microUSB port for charging and syncing.

There’s no word on what the capacity of the battery is rated at, however, or how long the unit will even last. Given that there’s no 3G or LTE connectivity, you should be looking at longevity closer to tablets rather than smartphones. Nvidia says the unit will ship out with the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean 4.2.2, and the company is promising monthly updates for the unit so that it doesn’t fall behind the ever increasing Android version numbers.

This may be a stock Android device designed for mobile gaming, but there are a few kinks to consider – the screen is permanently in landscape mode, so some apps aren’t going to play nice with the orientation. Shield also won’t stream every single title on the Steam store at launch. Around 20 games will officially support Shield at launch, but technically any game that supports controller inputs will be able to stream out to the Shield. Having said that, the baseline graphics card required to support the streaming feature is an Nvidia GTX 650.

At least there will be some Tegra 4 optimized games for those who can’t or don’t want to stream from their desktop. Nvidia says that Broken Age, Costume Quest, Flyhunter: Origins, Skiing Fred, and Chuck’s Challenge will all show off exactly what Tegra 4 can do once Shield launches in June.

Nvidia Shield will cost $349 (around £228) in the United States, but there’s no word on UK pricing or availability just yet.

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