Last night during the nVidia press conference it was all about gaming except for perhaps 1% which focused on photos. One of their announcements which caught a lot of people off guard was that nVidia has been working on their own portable entertainment system (let's be real though, it's all about gaming) called Project Shield. This little package of awesome will sport a Tegra 4 chipset and pure Android, as in no crappy secondary UI layered over it.
While this device is geared for entertainment in general, such a movies, book, magazines and TV shows, it does come with a full set of gaming controls so you can play whatever game you want on it from the Google Play store. While this is all nice and dandy, as first glance it just looks like a uniquely designed MOGA until you take a closer look at it.
Firstly, it comes with a 5" touchscreen built into it, so there is no concern about actually attaching a phone to it. Secondly, it comes with all the standard connections you could want such as a MicroSD slot for additional storage space, headphone jack, HDMI-out and USB.
You can also control just about everything with this little guy whether it is movie playback, playing music, browsing Facebook and so on. But back to gaming shall we? Another announcement which we will get into in the next article, nVidia's GRID and GFE service, can team up with this or any Android device and allow you to play PC games via the Cloud. The Shield comes with three tabs: Games, Tegra Zone and PC Games which is accessible by pressing the shield button. Pressing this button takes you to a completely gaming centric UI.
From there you can pick games you've purchased for the Shield (or free-to-play ones as they demoed Hawken, the Mech FPS multiplayer game), play your Android games through it or connect to your PC and play your PC games through it and even play Steam games. This is made possible thanks to nVidia's GRID server which is essentially a GPU stuffed rack server dedicated to rendering 3D visuals in the cloud. All you need is the client installed on your Android device and PC. You can even load up saved games and continue playing them while on the go.
Head-to-head Hawken action and a look at the connectors
nVidia also went a little out of their way to ensure that sound with the Shield would be something you would like, sporting its own bass reflex system and the sound/noise ration that performs better than Beats Audio on an HP laptop, according to nVidia that is.
The units we saw last night we still prototype units but they were working pretty smoothly already. nVidia didn't mention when the Shield would hit the market for consumers to purchase one or for how much it would retail for. Price will be a big factor as to whether or not this will be a success. We'll be gunning for some hands-on time with Project Shield tomorrow.