[CES 2013] When it comes to gaming, NVIDIA comes to mind as one of the main GPU manufacturers, although lately they have been attempting to make a splash in the mobile scene by creating their own brand of mobile chipsets, such as the recently announced Tegra-4.However it looks like being the backbone to gaming setups isn’t enough and the company has recently announced a new Android handheld gaming console of their own which they have dubbed Project Shield. Essentially what Project Shield could be thought of as a 5″ Android tablet with a gaming controller attached to it, and one of the highlights of this console would be its “pure” Android experience. What this means is that gamers will not have to put up with weird or funky skins that manufacturers typically install on their products to help differentiate themselves from the competition.
In fact if you don’t think the 5″ screen is big enough for your gaming needs, it seems that you will be able to attach the device to a larger Android tablet, maybe the Nexus 7 or Nexus 10, or even a television if you desire via a HDMI cable. For those with 4K UHD televisions, or are planning to get one, NVIDIA demonstrated that Project Shield will have no problems running on 4K UHD TVs. When hooked up to a television, the gaming device becomes more than that and has the ability to double up as a set-top box, with NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang decoding a 4k movie on it, which we have to admit is pretty impressive considering its size.
At this point the casual gamer might be wondering this is great, but what kind of games can one play on it? After all it would seem like a waste of such a powerful device to be simply playing games like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja, right? Well as expected from NVIDIA, owners of Project Shield will be able to access NVIDIA’s own Android gaming app store, Tegrazone, giving them access to higher quality games that more enthusiast or hardcore gamers might appreciate. On top of that it seems that Project Shield will be able to play some of your PC games thanks to NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience software, allowing the sharing of PC games on the device over a local network, giving them access to Steam’s library of games. We’re not sure if Project Shield will be able to handle every game on Steam, but in the demonstration, games such as Need For Speed: Most Wanted and the latest Assassin’s Creed 3 running on the device.
As far as hardware specs are concerned, Project Shield will be powered by NVIDIA’s latest Tegra-4 chipset. NVIDIA boasts that the controller is of “console-grade”, and that it will feature a 5″ Retinal HD display with a resolution of 1280×720 with 294dpi. It will also feature a portable bass reflex sound system which we can imagine will sound a lot better than the default speakers on most Android devices, along with the usual connectivity options such as HDMI, micro-USB, a microSD card slot, a 3.5mm audio jack and the backplate itself which is customizable (think personal engravings and the likes). No word on pricing or availability, but the good news is that we should be getting our hands on the device during CES, so check back with us later in the week for more information!