After announcing the Tegra 4 processor ,claimed to be the fastest mobile processor in the world right now, NVIDIA went on to showcase their latest creation, Project SHIELD.
So what exactly is this Project SHIELD? It’s a handheld gaming console that lets you play Android games and will also let you stream Steam games from your PC to the device wirelessly. And that’s just the gist of it.
Project SHIELD basically looks like an Xbox 360 controller with a foldable display attached. The display is a 5-inch, 1280 x 720 resolution ‘retinal’ multitouch unit, with a pixel density of 294 ppi. If you think that’s not enough, you can output the video to an external display through the HDMI port on the back, that too in up to 4K resolution! Other hardware features include built-in bass-reflex speakers.
On the software side, Project SHIELD runs on stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and you can control it either through the touchscreen or the controller. You also get access to the full Google Play Store, so unlike something like OUYA, which is limited to its own store, you can download pretty much any app or game on Project SHIELD available on Google Play.
But that’s just half the story. Thanks to partnership with Steam, you will also be able to wirelessly stream games running on your PC with NVIDIA GPU to your Project SHIELD. The rendering will happen on the PC and then the video will be streamed to the handheld device, similar to the way the WiiU works. It remains to be seen, though, how well this feature works, what are the hardware requirements for the PC and which titles support it.
Nvidia demonstrated games like Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Assassin’s Creed 3 and the Unreal Engine 3-based Hawken, but Project Shield would easily run all Google Play and Tegra Zone Android games. Nvidia also announced some of the first games that will be available on the device: hack-and-slash game Blood Sword: Sword of Ruin, Real Boxing, console title Burn Zombie Burn, another console game Rochard, and ARMA Tactics, a PC game crossover between a first-person shooter and strategy.
The Project Shield release date is set for Q2 2013, but sadly there is no price yet. Right now the device is in its beta and come with Wi-Fi support only and no 4G LTE for those who’d like to take it with them on the go. Expect to hear more about it soon, though, but in the meantime hit the official website of the project right below.