If there's one thing to say about NVIDIA's support of SHIELD devices, it's that they're doing a pretty dang good job of constantly pushing enhancements to all three devices - SHIELD Portable, SHIELD Tablet, and SHIELD Android TV.
And today, two of those are getting updates of their own, with a minor update to SHIELD Portable and a slightly larger bump for SHIELD Android TV. Let's start with the former.
SHIELD Portable is currently receiving upgrade 106, which brings a few rather minor - but still useful - enhancements:
This update contains button functionality fixes and security improvements, including:
If you missed the start button from KitKat, it's back.
Green Arrow is a mamma's boy. Hawkeye is overrated. Katniss is a pushover. All of those archer-themed heroes should try saving the world with just one arrow - maybe then they'd approach the sheer brass-balled awesomeness of the protagonist in Titan Souls. As he wanders in a twilight world between the living and the dead, he slays gigantic monsters with a single hit from his arrow... though he does get a little help, since it's magical and he can easily retrieve it after every shot.
NVIDIA's GRID gaming service, which streams high-end PC games to the company's Android-powered hardware at extremely low latency, has been promoted as one of its best exclusive features. Unfortunately, NVIDIA seems to be having a lot of trouble getting over the last few hurdles to actually launch the thing. GRID has been in beta since late 2013, and was scheduled to launch its paid service in July as of the SHIELD Android TV announcement. Now it looks like the full launch has been pushed back again.
The original Shield Portable is finally getting the bump to Android 5.1 from 4.4, but don't rush right out and download the OTA just yet. There are a few caveats with this one. Yes, you get the latest version of Android, but it will remove several games and features that are bundled with the old KitKat software.
NVIDIA changed the landscape of Android gaming with the original SHIELD. And with that, came top-tier titles of recent years, like Valve favorites Portal and Half-Life 2. Since then, the company has released a slew of killer games specifically for SHIELD devices, including Half-Life 2: Episode One. Today, the saga continues with the third Half-Life game available for Android, Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
HL2: E2 (which is available exclusively for SHIELD Android TV) is joined by a handful of other kickass titles, all of which should be available today in Google Play. Here's a quick rundown, starting with the star of the show.
NVIDIA's cloud-based game streaming service has been available on SHIELD devices as a free beta for a long time now, but the subscription version of the service was supposed to be arriving around now. According to NVIDIA, that won't be happening for another month, so GRID continues to be free until July 31st. This applies to all three SHIELD devices.
This one's been waiting in the wings for quite a while. NVIDIA teased The Talos Principle, a puzzle game played out primarily in full first-person 3D, way back at the reveal of the SHIELD Tablet in July of 2014. After nearly a year of waiting (and the game's full release on the PC), it's now available exclusively for newer high-end Tegra-powered devices. According to the game's Play Store description, it's intended for the SHIELD Tablet, the Nexus 9 (equipped with a Tegra K1), and the upcoming SHIELD Android TV set-top box only. It uses either touchscreen controls or external controllers.
The Talos Principle is an introspective and somewhat philosophical puzzler created by Croteam, of all people - that's the developer of the over-the-top Serious Sam shooters.
Hey, how hilarious would it be if NVIDIA managed to update its SHIELD Tablet to Android 5.1 before Google updates the Tegra-powered Nexus 9? Wait, no, hilarious isn't the right word. ____ is the right word (which the Android Police style guide won't let me publish), according to N9 owners.
A recent post by an NVIDIA forum administrator indicates that the 5.1 update is coming to the SHIELD Tablet sooner rather than later. If the company gets the update out in its usual quick fashion, it might indeed beat Google to the punch.
Hey guys, As part of the SHIELD tablet experience post-OTA 2.0, we heard your feedback about performance and responsiveness issues related to the Android OS.
One of the lesser-known portions of the custom game software on NVIDIA's SHIELD Portable and SHIELD Tablet is GRID, an OnLive-style streaming PC gaming system. It allows owners to play a selection of full-feature PC games streamed from NVIDIA's own virtualized systems at a data center, no personal gaming PC required. The service is still in beta, but has been growing steadily since its introduction a little over two years ago. By the beginning of March, 40 PC games will be available for free to SHIELD owners.
The next PC game added to the service, live this morning, is Saints Row 4.
Exclusive titles like Half-Life 2 and Portal have served to make Nvidia's Shield devices more attractive to gamers, but that's usually about graphical optimization. The newly released OlliOlli is a bit different. This is a retro-themed skateboard stunt game that previously resided on Steam. Now it's on Android and exclusive to the Shield Portable. Yes, the Portable. Oh, and it's $12.99, just like the Steam version.