Like a lot of you, I watched NVIDIA's press conference with my jaw firmly on the floor when Project Shield was unveiled. It's a true Android gaming portable, built from the ground up to make a great gaming experience - not a phone or a tablet that also plays games, with varying degrees of efficiency, like Sony's now outdated Xperia Play or Archos' Gamepad. And it's made by NVIDIA, the company with the most to gain by expanding the platform's gaming horizons.
NVIDIA's Shield portable gaming system is easily the most anticipated product to come out of CES. Today, we finally got a chance to go hands-on with an early build of the device, and got a few hands-on videos in the process. Let's break down the videos first.
Did you miss NVIDIA's Tegra 4 unveiling last night? No worries, friends – you can now watch the whole event in its entirety right here. That's all sorts of babble about video cards, video games, the Tegra 4, Dead Trigger 2, and, of course, Project SHIELD in all of its handheld glory.
NVIDIA's jaw-dropping Tegra 4 and Project Shield demos showed off a lot of impressive hardware, but any gamer will tell you: it's all about the games themselves. To that end, they've revealed a few of the games currently in development and set to take advantage of both the Tegra 4 and Shield's console-style controls. We've already seen Madfinger's Dead Trigger 2, but on the shiny new Shield website, there are brief glimpses of other titles.
If you've been following PC gaming, you know that Valve has big plans for its Steam platform. NVIDIA wants to leverage the new "Big Picture" mode (a TV user interface, designed to make a gaming PC work more like a game console) with the brand-spanking new Project Thor Shield mobile gaming device. At the CES press conference, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed off the Shield Hardware streaming live PC games from a local machine running a high-end GTX 680 graphics card.
After about 45 minutes of casual sexism and awkward pauses, NVIDIA's Jen-Hsun Huang dropped the bomb. Project Shield is a handheld gaming console running pure, unmodified Android (Jelly Bean). At its core is the newly-announced Tegra 4 ARM chip, but that's not all.
Update: Official video of Project Shield:
The device looks like a standard wireless controller with a flip-up screen. Around the back are I/O ports, and there's no proprietary nonsense here.
Okay, so sure, OnLive still exists, but given its financial woes and general instability, it's unlikely that the company will be investing in any new hardware or infrastructure. This is a shame, because NVIDIA just dropped some sweet-looking server racks on us at CES. While it bears more than a little resemblance to the GeForce GRID program, the NVIDIA GRID features the ability to support 24 concurrent users on a single node.
It's CES 2013, and NVIDIA has just kicked it off in a way that only NVIDIA can: by announcing the world's first quad-core A15 CPU – the Tegra 4. It uses the same 4-PLUS-1 setup as the Tegra 3, which has the fifth "battery saving" core, but supercharges it in basically every way imaginable. For starters, it features 72 GPU cores. That's a lot of cores.
Past that, it's the first Tegra processor to have an onboard 4G LTE modem (finally!).
Android Police is live at NVIDIA's 2013 CES press conference at the Palms Hotel, primed and ready for what we can only assume will include the announcement of the next generation of Tegra mobile processors. Check out the ScribbeLive widget below for our coverage as it happens, starting at 7:45PM PST (that's 10:45PM EST).