Nvidia unveils Shield Android micro-console

March 4, 2015 | 10:45

Tags: #android #android-console #games-console #jen-hsun-huang #maxwell #micro-console #microconsole #nvidia-grid #tegra #tegra-x1

Companies: #google #nvidia

Nvidia has announced the impending launch of its next-generation Shield gaming hardware, and this time it's a micro-console powered by Google's Android TV.

The original Shield was unveiled back in 2013 as a controller with integrated screen powered by Google's Android operating system. As well as being able to play Android games the device could connect to any desktop or laptop machine with a compatible Nvidia graphics card and stream game content, initially over the home network and later over the internet. The Shield was followed by a Shield Tablet, and now the latest product in the family - confusingly called simply Nvidia Shield, the same name as the original controller-based incarnation - has been formally unveiled.

The Nvidia Shield is a micro-console based on Android TV, the home entertainment focused spin of Google's originally mobile-centric operating system. Naturally, it includes Nvidia's latest 64-bit Tegra X1 ARM processor with 256-core Maxwell-based GeForce GPU hardware and 3GB of shared RAM. The console is claimed to support 4K video output and 7.1 or 5.1 surround-sound audio at 24-bit/192KHz sampling rates. 16GB of flash storage is included, while connectivity is catered for by a 2x2 MIMO array of 802.11ac 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi antennas, Bluetooth 4.1 and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, two USB 3.0 ports, a micro-usb 2.0 port, IR receiver, and a micro-SD card slot to boost storage.

'Shield will change the way we enjoy digital entertainment at home,' boasted Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive of Nvidia, at the unveiling. 'It’s an incredibly powerful, efficient and advanced living room entertainment device; it’s the best Android TV experience; and it can transform into a serious gaming machine. It’s made to game.'

As with its predecessors, the new Shield supports native games, streamed content from a home PC, and connection to the Nvidia Grid cloud-powered game streaming service, with the latter requiring a paid subscription. Companies that have signed up to develop content include: id Software, which will release a native Android version of Doom 3: BFG; Capcom, which will release a remastered version of Resident Evil 5; and CDProjekt, which already has a version of The Witcher: Battle Arena running on the console.

The new Shield is to be priced at $199 with a single controller, with optional accessories to include a remote control, additional controllers, and a stand for vertical use - somewhat penny-pinchingly not included with the console itself. The Shield launches in the US in may and in Europe, including the UK, in the second half of the year. For the curious, a demonstration video is embedded below while more information is available from the official microsite.

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