Nvidia Project Shield: Android Gaming Console Powered By Tegra 4

Nvidia Project Shield: Android Gaming Console Powered By Tegra 4

Nvidia Project Shield will be Nvidia’s first foray into the portable Android gaming console business, and some people are already saying that it will be a failure. Similar to the Xperia Play by Sony Ericsson, the Project Shield comes with a high resolution screen built onto a gaming controller that operates very similarly to the Playstation 3 Dual Shock design.

According to Tech Spot, the Nvidia Project Shield is based on the new Tegra 4 mobile chip, and shares the clamshell design of the Nintendo DS, albeit without the bottom screen. Powering the device will be 38 watt-hours of Lithium-Ion battery cells, meaning that Project Shield will have what amounts to a tablet-capacity battery life of five to 10 hours.

The operating system is based on a streamlined version of Android, and thus unlike competitors like Ouya or the Kindle Fire HD it can play any of the games on Google Play. It’s got a MicroSD slot, 3.5 audio jack, micro USB, and HDMI capable of outputting up to 4K or Ultra HD resolutions. The Project Shield’s 5-inch screen is a touchscreen, and is capable of 720p display at 294dpi. If you’re complaining that it’s not 1080p, then you should read The Inquisitr’s article on the effectiveness of high resolutions on smaller screens. Wireless connectivity is also available, with WiFi for data and Miracast plus additional formats for video output.

Speaking of video output, the Nvidia Project Shield will be able to bridge the gap between PC and console gaming, bringing your PC games to your home theater system. According to Anandtech, by “leveraging the Video Codec Engine video encoder inside their recent GTX 600 video cards, Project Shield devices will be able to connect to PCs to do remote gaming. Project Shield will of course also be able to function as an endpoint for any cloud game service providers using NVIDIA’s GeForce GRID technology.”

Handheld Specification Comparison
Project Shield Sony PS Vita Nintendo 3DS XL Google Nexus 7 Apple iPad mini
Display 5-inch 1280 x 720 5-inch 960 x 544 OLED 4.9-inch 800 x 240 + 4.2-inch 320×240 TN 7″ 1280 x 800 IPS 7.85-inch 1024 x 768 IPS
CPU NVIDIA Tegra 4 (4+1 Cortex A15) 4 x Cortex A9 2 x ARM11 1.3 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 (T30L – 4 x Cortex A9) 1GHz Apple A5 (2 x Cortex A9)
GPU NVIDIA Tegra 4 (72 GPU cores) PowerVR SGX543MP4 PICA 200 NVIDIA Tegra 3 (T30L) PowerVR SGX543MP2
Connectivity WiFi, HDMI, USB WiFi, USB WiFi WiFi , USB WiFi, Lightning
Memory N/A 512MB + 128MB 128MB + 6MB 1GB 512MB
Storage N/A + Micro-SD Proprietary 2GB + Micro-SD 16GB 16GB
Battery 38Wh 8.2Wh 6.5Wh 16Wh 16.3Wh
Starting Price N/A $249 $199 $199 $329

Because Steam now has its Big Picture mode, the Nvidia Project Shield can be used to navigate the store without having to move back to your PC. The controller configuration is similar to the XBox 360 Controller for Windows so playing most new PC games should be a cinch. Speaking of Steam, Valve Software is rumored to be working on a Linux-based gaming console of their own and it’s possible Nvidia might find itself in competition with the largest PC digital distribution system in the world.

At this point NVIDIA has not announced hard pricing or availability, but we have been given guidance that “Project Shield will launch in Q2 at a price competitive with other mobile gaming systems and tablets.” But we might estimate that Project Shield might be priced somewhere around the $249 price mark by comparing against other competing products. Do you plan on buying a Nvidia Project Shield?