Nvidia today announced their own Android-based handheld gaming console. Simply put, the device is interesting: while Nvidia is more known for their silicon designs that find their way in to various GPUs, this handheld console looks as if it may become one of the more popular products out of this year’s CES.
Featuring a clamshell design, the console boasts a controller that has clear traces of Sony’s Dualshock 3 in its design language. That’s right: the console features a full-sized controller, which the screen covers when folded. The software of the device looks to be stock Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), and has a 5-inch, 1280×720 screen. The Shield will play an active part in the various other Nvidia platform announcements made today, and will be able to stream full PC games via Valve’s Steam and its new Big Picture Mode. According to various publications, the feature actually works quite well, with lag being minimal to nonexistent in even the most taxing of games.
Games specifically designed for the Shield’s Tegra chip will be available via Tegrazone, Nvidia’s proprietary game/app store.
The device is currently WiFi-only, but that could potentially change as the ship date looms nearer. That date, Nvidia says, is currently targeted for Q2 2013 – relatively soon, in other words.
Nvidia offering its own console is an interesting proposition. This likely is due to the rise of gaming on smartphone operating systems – of which Android is incredibly popular – and the rumor that next-generation consoles will all be based on chips from AMD.