NVIDIA Shield isn’t just another gaming handheld, it’s also a near “Google Edition” device [VIDEO]



NVIDIA is packing up Shield and gearing up for a big showing at this year’s E3 2013. Before they do, they wanted to take the time out to make sure you and everyone else knew that the NVIDIA Shield isn’t just a portable gaming powerhouse — it’s also a fully functional Android device.

We’ve covered this in the past, but with all the hype lately over “Google Edition” devices running a stock Android OS, NVIDIA is here to remind you that Shield is running a completely unskinned version of Android Jelly Bean as well (albeit, without direct updates from Google). This puts the device into a class of its own when compared to other gaming handhelds like the PSP Vita or Nintendo 3DS.

You can watch NVIDIA showing off all the normal “Android” things you can do with the Shield in their latest video below.

I got a chance to talk about Shield in our latest GameFans podcast, and I talked about how excited I am about Shield and where it could take Android gaming. With huge game publishers like Square Enix and Sega just now warming up to Android, I think Shield could be the nudge other game makers need to begin taking Android more seriously. With Google’s latest Google Play Games APIs, cloud saves and multi-device gaming is all possible.

My favorite NVIDIA Shield feature? Its ability to have multiple games running simultaneously. I discovered this nifty feature after playing with the device for hours at GDC a few months back.

The included 2GB of RAM allows for Android gamers to quickly and seamlessly switch between two games open in the background at the same time. No more closing one game to play another, you can keep Bejeweled Blitz open while you play a few levels in Dead Trigger, then switch back and pick up exactly where you left off, on the fly. No waiting. No loading. No downtime. Let’s see you do that on the 3DS.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. “NVIDIA is here to remind you that Shield is running a completely unskinned version of Android Jelly Bean”

    I’m here to remind Nvidia that not many people are going to spend $250-350 on a hand held game console that can’t play their favorite console exclusive games. I’d also like to remind them that the people that do drop $250+ on gaming stuff are people that buy high end GPU’s. It would be nice if they stopped re-branding the Gtx 6– series now.


    1. cloud gaming may make that possible

      1. I’d never touch something with the input lag that will so obviously have.

        1. I applaud you on your ability to fabricate a new problem for you to critique. You’re right, it’s so obvious that it will have input lag, based on all the evidence you have. I have personally had my hands on this device, and as a hardcore gamer, I can promise you there is less input lag on this than the Xbox 360. No wireless controller. The Xbox 360 controllers have to go through special encoding, then the radio waves must travel through the air to the Xbox’s wireless receiver, then it must decode the signal and then use the signal as input into the game. Many steps, and if you pay attention, there is clear input lag on the 360. The Shield is hard wired.

          1. Xbox 360 is a 5 or more years old console, without flash memory and yes the feedback distances between chips, screen are shorter, Real Racing 3 plays well on my Nexus 7. Let alone on a device with 6x the GPU power, 2x more and faster RAM, 2x the CPU power, hope it’s got plenty of flash, RR3 takes up 1GB, advanced games may take 5GB.

    2. Not to mention they probably have the money to own the latest superphone with better specs….

  2. I’d buy this instantly if it were like the Xperia play. Slide-out controls are superior. That video clearly demonstrates that while Android is fully functional. Holding it like a tray in landscape while maneuvering your finger to somehow not get in the way of the controller looks like a chore.

    Plus storing this thing. Just give me one device please. The Xperia play would have been a winner if if wasn’t using last gen parts, a shitty LCD + pseudo analog sticks.

    1. Somebody PLEASE make another gaming phone!

      1. I’m still holding out hope for an Xperia Play 2.. I’d die. x_x

        1. I had the original Xperia Play. It would take a lot for me to return to a gimmick device like that. They released that phone with a single core processor when everything else was dual core. 400 MB of internal memory, and trust me, you run out quick.

          Just get a Galaxy S 4 and a gamepad. Your better off.

  3. Stock android is not equal to Google Edition, unless it’s getting its updates direct from ElGoog on each new release.

    1. Good point, it’s a NEAR Google Edition device. Would be nice if Google accepted a device like this into AOSP (would be a huge PR opportunity for NVIDIA), but they’ve changed so much code in Jelly Bean to allow for analog controls, I don’t see that happening.

  4. I would buy this if I could remove the screen and play on my TV. If it does all these basic android things then I could also watch my downloads off of a chip and through avia or something similar.

    1. You can plug this sucker into your TV via HDMI out. Close enough?

      1. Close enough. I just wish I could fold the screen away when playing on this. This will undoubtedly pee-pee on Ouya just based on specs and portability alone. I’ll wait til about Christmas when I can hopefully get one for under 300. Still saving for xPhone or nexus 5 first. Despite updates to jb this gs2 has ran its course. You think in a year well see nvidia make something of their own phone like xperia play?

      2. Will connecting the Sheild via HDMI out mirror the display onto the TV or will it use the TV as the primary display? Shield’s 720p resolution mirrored onto a 1080p TV will suck.That’s the problem i have with MHL when i connect my One X to the TV. Most games look great on the mobile but the image quality takes a hit on a big 1080p TV. Please correct me if im wrong.

        1. Nvidia’s CEO said that the Shield will stream HDMI up to 4k (3840×2160) at CES.

          1. Confirm, T4, Snappy 800, UD capable.

          2. The question that remains is if the HDMI display is a secondary display (running at the display’s resolution) or a mirror of the 5″ screen. This has not been noted. Though they showed on some preliminary demos that the HDMI device could show a different view, such as an overhead game view while someone was playing their game.

  5. The multitasking thing for gaming is not true actually. Most games I play (Angry Birds, Virtua Tennis, Real Racing) reset if you switch to another app, most of the time the game is kaput. Really, really irritating – I now have no hopes of this EVER being fixed. Can’t see how it will be different with Shield.

    1. My HTC One allows me to pop through games with ease. Some, yes, will restart every single time you open them, but many do not (otherwise something like receiving a call would restart the app).

      When I played with the Shield at GDC, I was able to multi-task through just about every game I opened, even the graphic-intensive ones. It was nuts and something I experienced first-hand — not some theory.

  6. Right, just because of better tech.

    And I expect this to only sell a third of what the 3DS is currently selling. And that’s being optimistic.

    1. Maybe that’s a good opener enough for Nvidia!

  7. its the 2GB of RAM that let’s you keep apps in memory when you switch to other apps. most games on Android take up so much memory that when you tell Android to switch apps, it closes down the game to free up enough memory to start the other app. shame on any game developer that writes their app to require restarting every time the app loses focus – multitasking is in Android’s DNA. If you plan to do a lot of gaming on a phone/tablet, pay close attention to RAM when deciding on a device.

  8. Author, you mean Google Experience Devices. Not Google Edition…

  9. Looks like a waffle iron.

  10. That doesn’t look that cool, looks a little outdated.

    Calgary gaming computers

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