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Nvidia's Shield goes open-source

Nvidia's Shield goes open-source

Source code for Nvidia's Shield console is now available, allowing for the creation of custom operating systems.

Nvidia has announced that it hopes hackers will look to its Shield portable console for their next development challenge, releasing the source code for the Android operating system along with binary driver packages.

Announced earlier this year under the working title Project Shield, Nvidia's Sheild is at its heart a small Android tablet mated to an Xbox-inspired controller. As well as providing access to casual Android-based games - the complexity of which is ever-evolving - the system mates with desktops or laptops featuring compatible GeForce graphics chips to stream PC games onto its compact screen in full 720p glory.

Now, Nvidia has released the source code for the device's operating system in order to encourage the development of software - not just add-on applications, mind, but entire revisions to the underlying operating system.

Before getting too excited, however, it's worth pointing out that the operating system itself is just a straightforward stock installation of Android. Further, Nvidia isn't actually releasing the source code for the device's graphics drivers - instead bundling a binary-blob driver with the package, much as it offers for Linux users of its desktop and laptop graphics hardware.

With that said, the source released by Nvidia is enough for developers to begin production of modified and third-party Android-based images for the device. Such images, the company has explained, will be flashable onto retail Shield hardware without restriction - and the company has made a factory recovery image available should users wish to return their Shields to stock images.

Thus far, Nvidia has not provided an international launch schedule for the console, stating that it wants to use feedback from its US-exclusive launch to tailor the device before releasing it elsewhere.

The source packages are available now on the official Shield developer site, for both the original software version and the latest over-the-air update.

4 Comments

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exceededgoku 9th August 2013, 11:53 Quote
That's great news, phone companies would learn a thing or two from this approach.

Everyone likes Open source and transparency!
Stelph 9th August 2013, 13:00 Quote
I wonder if someone would try and port the OUYA OS (since that already has stick support games built in) and bundle in the Nvidea support for PC game streaming, id see that as a good mix
Bindibadgi 9th August 2013, 13:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by exceededgoku
That's great news, phone companies would learn a thing or two from this approach.

Everyone likes Open source and transparency!

Yea but it's not a phone. The open channel and contract one are entirely different.
Gareth Halfacree 9th August 2013, 14:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Yea but it's not a phone. The open channel and contract one are entirely different.
But the Xperia Z is a phone. That's open source, as is the Tablet Z. The Nexus 4, too - although that, obviously, is special 'cos it's a Googlephone. There's also the HTC One and Galaxy S4 Google Editions. They're even more open than the non-Google editions - although they also have the source code available. Not to mention a number of others from a variety of manufacturers.

In short: it's increasingly common for smartphone makers to release enough source to build custom ROMs. Shame Asus has been slow in doing the same, really, although at least you unlocked the bootloader for the Padfone back in April - a year after launch.
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