It has been a while since we last heard from NVIDIA about Project Shield. Today, NVIDIA is dropping "Project" from the name, making it formally just Shield, and simultaneously announcing pricing and availability information about its Tegra 4-packing handheld gaming console. The specs for Shield remain the same as what we saw at CES 2013 — 1.9 GHz Tegra 4 SoC, 5-inch 720p display, and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. What's nice about getting a device straight from the SoC vendor in this case is that NVIDIA promises it will be able to push out OTA updates with the latest and greatest Android version basically in lock step with its own official Tegra 4 BSP (Board Support Package) software offerings, which makes it essentially the Tegra 4 reference platform.

NVIDIA SHIELD
  Shield
SoC NVIDIA Tegra 4 - 1.9 GHz
Display 5-inch 720p "Retinal" Display
RAM 2 GB LPDDR3
Wireless Connectivity 2x2:2 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi + BT 3.0, GPS
Storage 16 GB NAND, microSD Expansion
I/O microUSB 2.0, mini-HDMI, 3.5mm headphone
OS Android 4.2.1, Updates from NVIDIA
Price $349.00, Preorders May 20, Shipping Late June

As for availability, the big news is pricing, which will be $349 in the US, with preorders starting on May 20th from vendors familiar to everyone. NVIDIA called out Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center, and Canada Computers explicitly as preorder vendors, with others to follow after the preorder period. As for ship date, NVIDIA is aiming for late June for fulfillment. At $349 the Shield is more expensive than the major first party handheld gaming consoles like the Sony PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS, but an impressive middle ground and price point nonetheless for basically what boils down to a higher-end smartphone sans cellular stack but with a built in gamepad. We're excited to get hands on with Shield in its final form with the final tuning of its joysticks, triggers, and D-Pad.

In conjunction with the launch of Shield will be availability of the PC game streaming functionality as well, initially in beta form. NVIDIA has a set of recommended titles which have been optimized for the Shield controller scheme, and as we experienced at CES likely include UI tweaks to make 720p handheld gaming a reality. 

Source: NVIDIA Blog (Shield), (5 Games

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  • Ortanon - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    The main reason Android is "worthless" as a gaming platform is because things like the Shield didn't exist. That's about to change, so talking about Windows is pointless. And silly. Reply
  • SpartanJet - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Sorry its been years now with better hardware. The only thing that changed in Android gaming is more in game money grubbing to unlock things occur. Android (and iOS) gaming is garbage. Reply
  • Ortanon - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Again, because things like the Shield didn't exist. Gaming is going to be garbage on a platform with no buttons. Reply
  • marc1000 - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Android is great simply because there are TONs of devices running it. So a lot of effort will be put on creating games for Android for a lot of years to come. The platform does not matter, it's the game availability that matters.

    Especially now that even the cheapest Android phones have 1ghz processors the quality of games will increase - not that the cheapest phones will be gaming consoles, but because of this the middle tier of phones will be a LOT better than it was a year ago.

    not to mention emulators compatibility with android, you can play ALL classic games on this thing.

    having owned an ill fated Xperia Play I can't wait to get a Shield. I gave up on the Play because it was deliberately killed by Sony (no ICS upgrade), but it ran all the games I wanted at the time and the gamepad makes a HUGE improvement during games.

    I would never buy a closed-platform portable console - 3ds or vita. but will definetivaly buy this open-platform one.
    Reply
  • Ortanon - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Well..."portable"..... let's not get crazy. Reply
  • marc1000 - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    yeah, it's not "cellphone" portable like the Play was (even considering the wheight and thickness, it was a phone). but definetively easier to carry around than a notebook or a big tablet. Reply
  • powerarmour - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    $350 isn't really that bad, it's more powerful than your average tablet, plus it's got a built-in controller too ;) Reply
  • Ortanon - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    A docking mechanism would've been far better, though. Reply
  • Grimmm - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    As long as they get some solid local multiplayer support like Portal 2, L4D2 (currently requires a hack to do splitscreen) and maybe a few hotseat (hot potato?) party games, I'll probably buy one. Reply
  • tviceman - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Does this have the capability to stream wireless to an HDTV when playing PC games? Reply

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