With SHIELD, NVIDIA made the decision to support the open source/root/Android modding community and embrace the hack-centric nature of the platform by making the device unlockable and easily modifiable. Now, it has made the necessary files available to really open it up for devs: the open source binary drivers and stock recovery image. Together, these files will not only allow developers to start tinkering with the device, but also flash everything back to its stock state should something go awry.


For those who are new to SHIELD development (which should be basically everyone, right?) NVIDIA does a good job of outlining how to use the files found in the download package. If you want to go a step further, you can also join NVIDIA's Tegra Registered Developer Program, which will get you early access to information and content, as well as open the doors to the SHIELD team to discuss issues and request new features. If you're a dev and a SHIELD enthusiast, it's definitely something to look into.

In the meantime, though, head here to grab the SHIELD goodies and start modding.


Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • CoreRooted

    Just waiting for them to backpedal on this decision like almost every other manufacturer has (I'm looking at you Samsung).

    • AndrewNeo

      Phone manufacturer, you mean? It's not a phone, it's (basically) a tablet. I don't see why they would.

      • CoreRooted

        Nope. Nearly every manufacturer to date that has produced an Android device (phone, tablet, etc) that has claimed to "embrace" the developer/modder communities has backpedaled in some way, shape or form.

        Samsung and HTC made the biggest claims and went back on them. LG caved into pressure from the carriers. Acer shut down major portions of their developer center. ASUS never really made any claims like it at all. The only manufacturer that has stayed pretty much true to their word has been Sony.

        So, I'm just waiting for NVidia (who doesn't have a glowing success rate with the Linux community to begin with) to pull something similar.

        • S Mahmood Alawi

          they have no reason to do that...
          no carriers or anything...
          but im not sure how strict they'll be releasing their own code aswell!!
          if they do... i understand it more than any other phone manufactor.

        • Barnassey

          You are wrong. Sony is the ONLY one who has NOT rolled back. They are also the only one who has open-sourced 99 percent of the software that runs on their phones.

          • CoreRooted

            True. Although, there were a few months where Sony was acting like they were going to back down to VZW when it came to locked bootloaders. Oh, and I forgot to mention Motorola on that list too. Probably one of the worst when it came to broken promises.

          • Barnassey

            I'm glad they didn't. People need to leave Verizon before they get their act together. This is why my next phone will be sony not anyone else. Motorola being stupid spending extra money on locked bootloaders rather than forgoing them altogether will make them sink. Especially the moto x. In my opine it was irrelevant when they announced it and said it was bootloader locked.

          • Ivan Myring

            Not even nexus?

          • Barnassey

            Not with the tutorials as well as other things. there is an article on xda about it.

  • Wes

    I won't touch it until it has been holofied by CM

    • IamTheFij

      It is holo. There is no skin on the UI.

    • Daniel DS

      RIP Grammar

  • http://googleplus.VoluntaryMan.com/ William Thieme

    As much as I'd love to run something like ParanoidAndroid (imagine the extra screen real estate you could get by lowering the dpi!), wouldn't that kill the game-streaming?

    • Evan Anderson

      All of the nvidia features are app-based, so a custom ROM won't affect anything.

      • http://googleplus.VoluntaryMan.com/ William Thieme

        Lots of oem-specific apps aren't compatible with aosp Roms. Is it different since the shield is so much closer to an aosp build?

        • Evan Anderson

          Yes I believe so. They advertise it as having 100% stock android.

          • http://googleplus.VoluntaryMan.com/ William Thieme

            I'd imagine there must be some sort of restriction on the app or else you'd be able to install it on other hardware (at least Tegra 4 hardware). Hopefully it just checks what the device thinks it is from the build.prop or some such thing.

  • Björn Lundén

    "Tegra", "open source" and "fun" don't belong in the same sentence. In all previous Tegra chips, a lot of the important logic is done in closed source blobs. As usual, stay away from Tegra if you want good community support.

    Might be a good gaming device though. It seems like they have nailed most of it.

    • Leon

      blobs aren't so bad if they are kept simple (minimize bugs and maintain forward compatibility) and have a documented interface. Too bad that isn't the model that nVidia has chosen, with their overly complex share object files that get obsoleted with every version of Android.