On March 23rd, 2010, Android Police was born, which makes today our 4th anniversary! While we'd like to have a birthday party with cake, balloons, streamers, punch, pie, and party games (have to keep it clean – this is a party for a four year old, after all), we decided instead to just team up with NVIDIA and give away some killer gadgets. So instead of giving gifts to AP for its birthday, we're actually giving gifts to our readers.
Most strategy games have you working as some kind of commander-god, floating over the battlefield and handing out orders to nameless minions while building up your stronghold. In the PC strategy game Mount & Blade, you move and command your party, capture bases, and expand your territory... but you're also a fully-controllable warrior, dishing out punishing blows against your opponents right next to your carefully raised army. Mount & Blade: Warband, the second game in the PC series, is now available for the NVIDIA SHIELD and other Tegra 4 devices.
So, you may or may not have noticed that a pretty special thing happened recently: we surpassed 500,000 followers on Google+. Five hundred thousand. Half-a-million people now get their AP fix directly from Google+, which we think is pretty great.
As a huge thanks to all of our G+ followers (and everyone else who reads AP, of course), we teamed up with NVIDIA to offer a giveaway that's just as special as the occasion it represents: we're giving away two SHIELDs.
If an always-connected tablet is something your heart has always desired but your brain won't let you open your wallet long enough to pay what carriers are asking for their branded tablets, the heavens may have just opened up for you. NVIDIA is unleashing a mobile network-connected version of the the EVGA Tegra Note 7 on the world, which will be available sometime in Q2. And the timing couldn't be better – the Wi-Fi TN7 just got updated to Android 4.4.2 last night, which also brings NVIDIA's GamePad Mapper to the device.
A lot of things happened recently: Valentine's Day, NBA All-Star Weekend, and today is Presidents' Day. You can go ahead and pick one of those now as the reason for this giveaway, because we don't actually have one. Maybe your V-Day was crappy, so a free tablet will cheer you up. Maybe you're bummed because [spoiler alert] the West lost, so you need a pick me up. Maybe you're not from America and couldn't care less about Presidents' Day – it's a holiday here, and we'll give you a free tablet because of that.
Those SHIELD owners who are lucky enough to be eligible for NVIDIA's GRID game streaming service, you've got two new options for cloud-based entertainment today. NVIDIA has added the zany open world sandbox game Saints Row: The Third and atmospheric zombie shooter Dead Island to the GRID beta, bringing the total number of streaming PC games to twelve.
For those of you who don't frequent the PC gaming scene, Saints Row is sort of the madman's alternative to Grand Theft Auto.
If the Internet had a pantheon of deities, Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds would surely be among them, with a big white beard and a laurel wreath. Torvalds has been a vocal detractor of corporations that don't offer support for Linux, including an especially expressive denouncement of NVIDIA back in 2012. But yesterday, Torvalds gave NVIDIA a thumbs-up - which is two whole fingers away from his previous gesture - for posting an early open-source driver for the Tegra K1.
Nvidia's TegraZone app is primarily aimed at Tegra-powered devices, but the new update to version 2.9 opens it up to everyone. You can check out Nvidia's curated game listings if you're using a Snapdragon, Exynos, or whatever else. Keep in mind, not all the games you find will be compatible, but it can be a nice way to explore some good games
Ever since we saw the initial demo of NVIDIA's game streaming technology on the SHIELD, we wondered when we could try it out with other Android devices. NVIDIA is jealously guarding its exclusive for now, but XDA Developers poster Cameron Gutman (cgutman) has created an app that duplicates SHIELD's functionality, allowing gamers to try their hand at streaming from a compatible GeForce-equipped gaming PC with any Android 4.1 or better device.
If you've been following our CES coverage, you know that NVIDIA is quite proud of its next-generation mobile chips. To make sure you get the message of "unearthly technology," they paid a bunch of artists to create a crop circle outside of Salinas, California with a design inspired by the Tegra K1 and its Kepler GPU. I bet Dell's Alienware division is asking, "why didn't we think of that?"
The design of the crop circle roughly mirrors the actual layout of the Tegra K1 chip: you can see the five square CPU cores on the bottom of the central square.