The Nexus 7 2013 is awesome in just about every way, building on the strengths of the original to become an easy choice for the best 7" Android tablet on the market at the moment. But there's at least one company that isn't altogether happy with it: NVIDIA. Their Tegra 3 chip powered the first Nexus 7, but Google switched to Qualcomm for the new version... a decision which hasn't come without problems of its own.
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.
When I first experienced the NVIDIA Shield's ability to stream games from a PC to the handheld unit wirelessly at CES back in January, I was floored. While it is remarkably similar to the Splashtop game streaming functionality NVIDIA demoed at CES 2012 (which never really came to fruition), Shield streaming feels like an even bigger step forward. This is basically NVIDIA's "look at what we can do" technology - it's what happens when they can have a high degree of control over the gaming experience.
NVIDIA’s SHIELD is a gaming device that defies classification. The full-sized controls and Android software make it more than a portable gaming device, at least on paper, but it doesn't compete with (or complement) more conventional mobile form factors. SHIELD is something entirely new.
The only way to evaluate a gaming machine is on how it plays games, and in that respect, SHIELD is amazing... at least in a few specific circumstances.
NVIDIA's Android-powered SHIELD gaming device launches tomorrow, after a shaky start with a month-long delay. But the boys in green have put the time to good use, wooing a huge list of developers to create an impressive library of titles compatible with SHIELD from day one. Here are our picks for the best SHIELD-compatible games, and the full list of 127 free and paid games available at launch.
A lot of the games in the official NVIDIA list are a bit off: there are duplicates for free and paid games, Tegra versions and non-Tegra versions, and "free" games that require in-app purchases for access to the full title.
Most of you are probably familiar with NVIDIA's Tegra line of system-on-a-chip boards - Tegra 2 was behind most of the first wave of Honeycomb tablets, Tegra 3 powered the Transformer Prime and Nexus 7, and there's this little thing called SHIELD with Tegra 4 coming next week. But their latest promotional efforts take the spotlight off of a fully integrated solution to focus on NVIDIA's bread and butter: the GPU.
After a last-minute delay for NVIDIA's risky SHIELD gaming device, the company has just sent out an email to those who pre-ordered it. The delayed launch date is next Wednesday, July 31st, just barely making the company's revised commitment to a July launch. Pre-order hardware will be shipped out to customers on Wednesday, and NVIDIA's retail partners will have at least some units that day as well, at the new $299 price tag.
Bad news for would-be Shield buyers, or those who pre-ordered: NVIDIA's first Android device (first consumer electronic, really) has been delayed. The reason? An unspecified "mechanical issue" with early units that was spotted during the quality assurance process. NVIDIA claims to be working with the vendor responsible for the issue, but at this point the most they're willing to promise is a revised ship date some time in July.
The official statement, if you're curious, is below.
CyanogenMod and other aftermarket ROMs are often the last recourse for tech-savvy users whose hardware has fallen behind the curve, or just been forgotten by a manufacturer or carrier. But even the CyangoenMod team can't keep supporting devices forever. In a Google+ post today, the CM team states that due to technical limitations, support for phones and tablets using the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset will end with the next major Android release.
NVIDIA doesn't want to take any chances with its first portable gaming product. After receiving feedback from prospective customers when the initial $349 price for SHIELD was revealed, the MSRP has been lowered to $299 - a big deal for cash-scrapped gamers and hardware junkies alike. Those who have already pre-ordered the hardware will be charged the new price (with whatever funding source they specified) when it ships. NVIDIA has also officially set next Thursday, June 27th as the launch date for SHIELD.