NVIDIA announces "Project Shield" portable Android console, also streams Steam games

At CES 2013 we all knew NVIDIA would unveil the Tegra 4 chipset, but no-one was expecting them to announce a portable gaming console. "Project Shield" is some sort of handheld Android gaming device with the Tegra 4 chipset inside, a full "console-grade" game controller, large battery life (they claim 5-10 hours of gaming from a 38 watt-hour battery), plus "Pure Android" without a skin.

The back panel comes with an HDMI port, microSD card slot for expanding the storage, 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB. The display itself is 5-inches with a touchscreen, and we believe it's a 720p panel for HD quality gaming. The "Shield" part of the name is in reference to the customizable back panel of the display, which will allow various skins to be applied to personalize your device.

The device was seen pushing 4K video and games straight to an external display, and it looked like the Tegra 4 was more than capable of the intense workload required. It comes with both Google apps such as the Play Store, and it's loaded with NVIDIA's TegraZone app which will be the main place to get your games from.

Project Shield is also capable of connecting straight to your desktop gaming PC in your house - provided it has a GeForce GPU inside - allowing your main gaming PC to stream games straight to your new NVIDIA handheld console over your home network. These games come from your existing game library or through Steam and Big Picture Mode, and through the HDMI port you can connect up to your TV and easily play PC games on your TV without the PC being physically near the TV.

No word on pricing of this device, but it was mentioned that the device still needs some polishing before it hits the market in "Q2 2013".

Source: NVIDIA | Images via NVIDIA

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I love how people turned this into an "I hate Android" argument. If you hate Android so much, why you even commenting on an article about an Android powered device? people seem never happy unless they are bitching and moaning about something (yes I know I'm a hypocrite but you know what I mean...)

Is anyone else noticing or watching a new generation of gaming fragmentation?

Even with just the Android products alone at CES, there is no universal common base hardware set or even Android functionality provided to ensure compatibility between systems. Beyond Angry Birds graphics quality, we are screwed.

So instead of Xbox, PC, PS3, Wii/U - we now have 50 different gaming type of consoles, and another several hundred when you add in the limited gaming features being installed in TVs and Cable boxes?

How does anyone think this will affect consumers?

If you were a developer, what systems or companies would you design games?

Android has managed to drag its fragmentation into a new realm of devices.

I'm sure a majority of these systems will fail or be relegated to specific uses, but until then, we have a problem.

Its design reminds me of the Original xbox (even has an X in it). In terms of looks this could have been Microsoft's handheld to compete with the PSP and Original DS. Definatly has the 'weight' of the Original Xbox's controller.

ingramator said,
Please don't get technical with the blind Linux fanboys, they will never understand the difference between OpenGL and DirectX

Oh so true.

Well, I own a Nvidia 660 Ti, so color me intrigued about being able to stream games from my PC to this little device. I very may be picking one up if it delivers on this promise smoothly.

DirtyLarry said,
Well, I own a Nvidia 660 Ti, so color me intrigued about being able to stream games from my PC to this little device. I very may be picking one up if it delivers on this promise smoothly.

ill be standing in that queue right next to ya mate! I think the steam streaming option a touch of genius tbh I like Android and can see why it was their choice. The 4k output is a future idea and quite stunning it can output comfortably to this, its the next big display thang in living rooms. sony, apple & MS should have tried this before now but again it takes Nvidia to be innovative and think along these lines and to "think different"

Fingers crossed next item they produce combines this tegra 4 into a Nvidia built phone/tablet or both! Id snap them up.

Edited by Mando, Jan 7 2013, 10:47pm :

Mando said,

ill be standing in that queue right next to ya mate! I think the steam streaming option a touch of genius tbh I like Android and can see why it was their choice. The 4k output is a future idea and quite stunning it can output comfortably to this, its the next big display thang in living rooms. sony, apple & MS should have tried this before now but again it takes Nvidia to be innovative and think along these lines and to "think different"

Fingers crossed next item they produce combines this tegra 4 into a Nvidia built phone/tablet or both! Id snap them up.

Confused about one of your statements... The 4K output is future... and Microsoft and Apple should have tried this before now.

How has Microsoft or Apple NOT tried this before? Microsoft was supporting 4K display technology a long time ago. Microsoft also supports addressing the full 10,12,16bpp color of some of the newer high end displays. (OS X and Linux do not, so the displays upscale the colors from 8bpp.)

It's Linux gaming essentially isn't it? My GF games on her Nexus 10 quite a bit, I was surprised at how good some of the games were. New game development is moving forward at a pretty good pace too, not just Angry Birds type stuff either. She now uses a bluetooth app to connect her PS3 controller, which I think she would still prefer to this, but I could see this catching on...It's all very new, hope enough people buy to keep it moving.

With Steam bringing it's own console system I don't think it's smart to get something like this. Seems more like a niche for Nintendo enthusiasts IMO. We'll see.

Lucas said,
With Steam bringing it's own console system I don't think it's smart to get something like this. Seems more like a niche for Nintendo enthusiasts IMO. We'll see.

Its own console system...........but not its own handheld system.

This is the beginning for Steam/Value.

Lucas said,
With Steam bringing it's own console system I don't think it's smart to get something like this. Seems more like a niche for Nintendo enthusiasts IMO. We'll see.

Welcome to gaming device/console F R A G M E N T A T I O N 2013.

I must say that does looks rather impressive! I wonder if it has a touchscreen too or if it comes with a stylus, that would add extra functionality to the device. My only possible problem is... will our thumbs actually reach those sticks easily, they seem quite a distance away.

"At CES 2013 we all knew NVIDIA ....
.....
No word on pricing of this device, but it was mentioned that the device still needs some polishing before it hits the market in "Q2 2012".

but, today is 2013.

Windows RT fanboys are just crying that their RT devices cannot get as much attention as Android "Generic" Devices.

Huh? This is a Tegra 4. It's ARM. I should be angry because Valve chose not to compile their games for an OS? That's actually their loss.

Aint it funny how people think Android is inferior when its still being used.

Get a life indeed for people to hate, for everything has its 15mins of fame, and if you don't like android being used, well cant do much can you!!!!

Sounds like a solid idea, cant wait to see its real world practice!

Shahrad said,
Aint it funny how people think Android is inferior when its still being used.

Get a life indeed for people to hate, for everything has its 15mins of fame, and if you don't like android being used, well cant do much can you!!!!

Sounds like a solid idea, cant wait to see its real world practice!

There is no opinion it's true. Android is inferior to most mobile OSes.

Shahrad said,
Aint it funny how people think Android is inferior when its still being used.

Get a life indeed for people to hate, for everything has its 15mins of fame, and if you don't like android being used, well cant do much can you!!!!

Sounds like a solid idea, cant wait to see its real world practice!

Just because it's still being used doesn't mean it's not inferior...

ingramator said,

There is no opinion it's true. Android is inferior to most mobile OSes.


Actually its complete opinion. No fact involved.

SharpGreen said,

Actually its complete opinion. No fact involved.

You don't appear to actually have any technical knowledge when it comes to mobile operating systems do you.

Nope. I guess building mobile OSes based on Windows CE and heavily modified versions of Android (both of which I have done) is totally not technical knowledge at all.

You're right. Though with my apparent lack of knowledge, I still probably know more about them than you.

Edited by SharpGreen, Jan 11 2013, 8:08am :

Wow this looks pretty awesome. This should really push the limits of the Android Gaming market. I see this pushing Windows further into irrelevancy.

recursive said,
Wow this looks pretty awesome. This should really push the limits of the Android Gaming market. I see this pushing Windows further into irrelevancy.

You really should push yourself into reality, pal.

recursive said,
Wow this looks pretty awesome. This should really push the limits of the Android Gaming market. I see this pushing Windows further into irrelevancy.

Android "Gaming" -> Windows "irrelevancy"

........................????????????????????????

recursive said,
This should really push the limits of the Android Gaming market. I see this pushing Windows further into irrelevancy.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha nice joke.

Seems pretty pointless to be honest. Especially if the "pc streaming" gimmick really will be restricted to pc's with only an nvidia gpu.

Scorpus said,
Word has it that it'll be restricted to computers with a GeForce 600 series GPU

So, my new iMac is qualified

38Wh, not 33. Looks like The Verge misreported it and has been taken to be fact. Not the first time this has happened.

Curiously, that's as big a battery as 11 inch ultrabooks and more than any 10 inch tablet this side of iPad 4.

Subhadip said,
38Wh, not 33. Looks like The Verge misreported it and has been taken to be fact. Not the first time this has happened.

Looks like I was right the first time. Thanks

Sonne said,
Because Apple is locked down and nobody cares about Windows Phone

I don't think windows phone would be the best OS for this I think Windows RT would be better but I don't think Microsoft would want such a hideous device running their OS.

Kushan said,
Worst OS possible?
Exaggerations are up 10,000,000% this month.

I actually can't think of too many os flavours that mine your data and then sell it on to the highest bidder! So in that regard the fact that you are the product I think it has to be down there with the worst

ingramator said,

I actually can't think of too many os flavours that mine your data and then sell it on to the highest bidder! So in that regard the fact that you are the product I think it has to be down there with the worst

Neither can I. In fact I can't think of any OSes that actually do that. It's funny that you had the nerve to tell someone to do research before commenting when you're not doing the same.

Sonne said,
Because Apple is locked down and nobody cares about Windows Phone

Isn't webOS open now. Why is no one doing anything with that?

This should have been the PS Vita from Sony and it would probably have been more successful.

Sony and Nvidia could have worked together on cost and R&D and Sony could have made exclusive games for it and it's android and so it could have really sold well with the right price.

Probably not. The average price for a game on PlayStation (PS3 or PS Vita) is about $40-50. What's the average price for Android games? $0.50?

You can make smaller and cheaper games that are not that expensive. You could also play android games that are cheap, so you can get both quick n play and console like games (although not as long in the game-play and not as great with the graphics) with a small screen or on TV. That's not bad at all.

I would add in wireless hdmi so that you don't even need a cable and boom.

What I was saying was that selling $0.50 games and $50 games in the same space doesn't fit the Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft platform approach, and the studios that make $60 games won't agree to being put in the same space as freeware games.

Games do not have to be $60, those are full blown games that have spent millions of dollars in making the game huge and with the latest graphics engines.

You can have different games for different people with different price points. Xbox Live does this all the time. The larger games are $10, the cheaper pick up and go games could be $5, the free games can be free. There is no room here for $60 (that should be reserved for a "real console" with the highest end game-play and huge game-play lasting for hours and hours. Skyrim for example would not be in the store, but something small that isn't using the latest graphic engines can be because it's cheaper development. No mobile game should be worth $60. Maybe $10-$15 at most.

I'm not saying that console manufacturers are 'right,' only that their business model doesn't (yet) take account for $1 games. Sony and Microsoft have just started allowing F2P games on their platforms, so you never know...

a0me said,
I'm not saying that console manufacturers are 'right,' only that their business model doesn't (yet) take account for $1 games. Sony and Microsoft have just started allowing F2P games on their platforms, so you never know...

Agreed. If Sony had been involved in this, the cost of games would have had to be much higher. Sony would have destroyed what this console is trying to be... And while I don't think there's room in the market for another console, what they are trying to do here is probably its only chance.

That was my first reaction too, and then I noticed the bit about the ability of stream games from your gaming PC to the NVIDIA handheld. It's still a niche market, but potentially bigger than the market of people wanting to play Android games on a dedicated gaming device.

a0me said,
That was my first reaction too, and then I noticed the bit about the ability of stream games from your gaming PC to the NVIDIA handheld. It's still a niche market, but potentially bigger than the market of people wanting to play Android games on a dedicated gaming device.

my thoughts exactly, i can see this being quite handy.

derekaw said,
DOA and Fail. There is no room in the market for this.

Some might say the same about Windows Phone or Ubuntu for Phones or Firefox for Phones. Let the people decide.

derekaw said,
DOA and Fail. There is no room in the market for this.

I agree. I just don't see this getting any penetration whatsoever...

the beauty about it is that it does not need a huge market to be supported like the wiiU or other platforms.. it runs android games and steam games.. there will be plenty of those for years to come..

Depends on price, if they price it too high then yeah it'll fail hard. However, if they can price it aggressively, it *could* take off. Just because you have no use for it doesn't mean nobody else will

Lachlan said,
the beauty about it is that it does not need a huge market to be supported like the wiiU or other platforms.. it runs android games and steam games.. there will be plenty of those for years to come..

this is true, so long as each unit is sold at a profit then it doesn't matter really, as the infrastructure is there anyway along with the games and devs. Its just another angle on an existing way of playing games.

Oh great, here we go with the console wars again, lol. Jk.
That does look pretty neat though.
I don't play games on cellphones so I wouldn't even know what any Android games are like, but I guess if you're addicted to them, would be a nice option to have something a bit more meant for playing them, so good idea.

Android? Whyyy. What a waste, you cannot game on such an inferior OS but then again we don't have many hardcore games on WinRT (yet)

What is the alternative? Apple is locked down, RIM is locked down so that leaves Android, plus it has the largest user base by far

Never knew Android was such an inferior OS. This must be why WinRT has so many more apps, superior hardware, ultra high screen resolutions, a highly touch-optimized, non-dual faced OS and a humongous user base when compared to Android. It really would have made a lot of sense for Nvidia to build their product on such a successful, open and truly amazing platform.

ThunderBuddy said,
Do you actually sit and stare at the RSS feed waiting for a new article to pop up so you can troll on it?

I'm going on the assumption of yes.

recursive said,
Never knew Android was such an inferior OS. This must be why WinRT has so many more apps, superior hardware, ultra high screen resolutions, a highly touch-optimized, non-dual faced OS and a humongous user base when compared to Android. It really would have made a lot of sense for Nvidia to build their product on such a successful, open and truly amazing platform.

First of all you're talking about Windows RT, I'm talking about WinRT please research both before commenting. Other then that I definitely agree with what you are saying!!! All I'm saying is that it's a shame that it has to be Android because there are no real alternatives at this stage apart from not making some ****ty device that is DOA like this. That is the fact of the matter.

recursive said,
Never knew Android was such an inferior OS. This must be why WinRT has so many more apps, superior hardware, ultra high screen resolutions, a highly touch-optimized, non-dual faced OS and a humongous user base when compared to Android. It really would have made a lot of sense for Nvidia to build their product on such a successful, open and truly amazing platform.

When the OS is so bad that it NEEDS crazy hardware in order to perform well..thats when one should start to wonder. Sure might be open, might be able to do whatever you want with it, but you can take a piece of **** from the ground and form it to look like a Diamond. It will still be ****.


recursive said,
This must be why WinRT has so many more apps,

The fact you don't even know what WinRT is really discredits your reply.

You guys need to know what the difference between WinRT and Windows 8 RT. Also the difference between Surface and Surface Pro and Surface Table. And let's not forget the Windows Logo in Microsoft is the Microsoft Logo not the Windows logo.

What is so confusing about that? It's not like it's the SciFi Channel re-branding as SyFy.

recursive said,
Never knew Android was such an inferior OS. This must be why WinRT has so many more apps, superior hardware, ultra high screen resolutions, a highly touch-optimized, non-dual faced OS and a humongous user base when compared to Android. It really would have made a lot of sense for Nvidia to build their product on such a successful, open and truly amazing platform.

He's probably talking about gaming capabilities. Microsoft has done a lot to optimize Windows for gaming. It's a vallid to wonder why they didn't go with Windows. There are many games for it and Windows 8 isn't just heavy-duty so it could function as a tablet OS.

Windows RT lacking apps isn't a vallid counter-argument. It has only just been released and it's app-market is growing at the same pace as Apple's did.

recursive said,
Never knew Android was such an inferior OS. This must be why WinRT has so many more apps, superior hardware, ultra high screen resolutions, a highly touch-optimized, non-dual faced OS and a humongous user base when compared to Android. It really would have made a lot of sense for Nvidia to build their product on such a successful, open and truly amazing platform.

Technically it is very much an inferior OS, and that isn't even getting into a deeper Linux kernel versus NT debate.

The Android JVM, OpenGL ES, native code incompatibilities are just a start, and next we move on to specifics. For example, you could NOT BUILD high functionality applications for Android because of scheduling and memory issues, let alone a lack of serious APIs.

The same is true of iOS, which is why even Apple demonstrates that with the iPad that they must release reduced functionality versions of their software because of OS limitations.

Windows RT - not a reduced functionality OS, notice Office 2013 is a fully functional identical product version to the shipping desktop version with the exception of a few antiquated features removed.

----

As for NVidia, this project was started on Linux gaming tablets before Android existed, and moved to Android once it was available. So considering Windows on ARM didn't even exist when they started this project, it seems kind of silly to assume that it is Android's superiority was how NVidia chose the OS.

(Especially since Android can't even use all the features of Tegra 3 or Tegra 4 without NVidia's custom wrapper around the video driver, replacing both Linux and Android's base functionality.)

thenetavenger said,

Technically it is very much an inferior OS, and that isn't even getting into a deeper Linux kernel versus NT debate.

The Android JVM, OpenGL ES, native code incompatibilities are just a start, and next we move on to specifics. For example, you could NOT BUILD high functionality applications for Android because of scheduling and memory issues, let alone a lack of serious APIs.

The same is true of iOS, which is why even Apple demonstrates that with the iPad that they must release reduced functionality versions of their software because of OS limitations.

Windows RT - not a reduced functionality OS, notice Office 2013 is a fully functional identical product version to the shipping desktop version with the exception of a few antiquated features removed.

----

As for NVidia, this project was started on Linux gaming tablets before Android existed, and moved to Android once it was available. So considering Windows on ARM didn't even exist when they started this project, it seems kind of silly to assume that it is Android's superiority was how NVidia chose the OS.

(Especially since Android can't even use all the features of Tegra 3 or Tegra 4 without NVidia's custom wrapper around the video driver, replacing both Linux and Android's base functionality.)

With Android its at least still possible to completely support ALL of the functionality of Tegra 3 and 4. On Windows RT, its not. How's that 5th companion core that the Surface's tegra 3 chip has, working for ya? (Hint: It's not.)

Let's face it. This can't be done with iOS because Apple doesn't allow third party manufacturers to use iOS.

This couldn't be done with Windows because it is no secret, they don't have the ecosystem.

This can only be done with Android. It has the game library from Android, Tegra Zone, and Steam. This was a smart decision.