SHIELD Portable and SHIELD Tablet owners, mosey on over to the Play Store for your latest app update. NVIDIA has pushed a 4.0 upgrade for its SHIELD Hub app (previously called Tegra Zone), which ties into most of the unique gaming-related software on the devices. The new version has a Material Design upgrade to make it play nice with the Lollipop build on the Tablet itself, though it uses NVIDIA's usual green-on-grey color scheme, so you'll have to look closely for the changes to the animation and layout.
One of the nicest things about NVIDIA's various bits of Android gaming hardware is that they get updated early and often. The SHIELD Portable is already running on the latest version of Android, but a new update (dated Tuesday, but apparently going out a little late) has fixed a few small issues with GameStream and other services. If you have a SHIELD, check your Settings menu - the 480.9MB update should be available as soon as you check it manually.
So maybe you haven't picked up one of those fancy new Shield Tablets yet—no worries, the original Shield portable is getting a nice little update to release 82. The OS is still based on Android 4.4 KitKat, but this is the biggest update Shield has seen in a while. It should be available for download now.
Valve's Portal and Half-Life 2, despite being quite old in terms of PC games, are two of the best showcase titles for the SHIELD right now. Naturally NVIDIA (which publishes both games in the Play Store) is eager to highlight them for the shiny new SHIELD Tablet. Actually, it's not shiny - the tablet is quite matte. But anyway, both games have been updated with SHIELD Tablet support, a week before the device is released.
If dramatic price drops and expanded software capabilities haven't convinced you to shell out for NVIDIA's Android-powered gaming machine, maybe a little free Play Store credit will do the trick. This referral link for NVIDIA's SHIELD store will net you a $25 Google Play Store credit for purchasing the SHIELD, which is still going for its reduced $199 price. C'mon, you know you want to.
You don't have to spend any of that $25 on games, but if you were so inclined, it could buy SHIELD versions of Valve's Portal and Half-Life 2, and maybe a movie and a cheap album to take advantage of the device's impressive audio.
It's a good day to be an NVIDIA SHIELD owner. Valve's Android ports of PC shooter classics Portal and Half-Life 2 just dropped in the Play Store for $10 a pop. They're only for the SHIELD (even other devices with the Tegra 4 chipset aren't invited to the party), which is a bit of a mixed blessing - these games really require a full controller to play.
It says it all, really.
PC gamers will recognize the logo for Valve's much-loved science fiction shooter Half-Life 2 emblazoned on the bar, which is the iconic starter weapon for the game. "What Would Gordon [Freeman] Do?" and NVIDIA's SHIELD logo, along with NVIDIA's signature green color, makes this a not-so-subtle indication that the game is coming to the Android-powered SHIELD at some point.
Portal was released nearly seven years ago as part of the Valve Orange Box, which also included a few other games. Seven years is an eternity on the internet, but the excitement was still palpable when Nvidia announced it was working on a version of Portal for the Shield. Now here we are just a weeks later and the game is about to hit the Play Store. The questions we have to ask are...
The last update to NVIDIA's Android-powered SHIELD game machine was only a month ago, but there's another one waiting in the wings. Since SHIELD is already running the latest version of Android, this is a maintenance update, but NVIDIA seems to be sending the full software image (460 megabytes) anyway. SHIELD users should see it pop up on their screens sometime today - make sure you're near a speedy WiFi access point before you begin.