In my personal opinion, NVIDIA's SHIELD Tablet has been one of the better Android tablets on the market for the last year and a half (give or take). Sure, it's had its ups and downs — a mandatory recall due to battery issues back in August probably hurt it more than anything, but NVIDIA did what was right and replaced all affected units.
Around that same time, SHIELD Tablet as we knew it was EOL'd. Initially we kind of assumed that this was because NVIDIA was prepping to release SHIELD Tablet 2, but we haven't seen nor heard anything about that. Now the company is bringing back the original SHIELD Tablet, albeit with a few changes and a nice new price tag.
The CyanogenMod team continues to expand its selection of builds for its aftermarket ROM, and today no less than four new devices are being added. Those would be HTC's 2015 flagship One M9, Lenovo's budget-oriented ZUK Z1, NVIDIA's SHIELD Portable (the original one with the attached controller), and the SHIELD Tablet.
As usual, CyanogenMod arranges builds by codename: the M9 is "himaul," the Z1 is "ham," the SHIELD Portable is "roth," and the SHIELD Tablet is... "shieldtablet." Huh. All four devices are currently on nightly builds of CyanogenMod 12.1 (Android 5.1), and may or may not be added to the more stable releases as they come.
Lately it seems that "retro" games have become synonymous with faux NES-era pixelated graphics. And while some pixel art is impressive, it's often just a means of seeming somewhat trendy without having to put in the extra effort and expense of making high-resolution 2D graphics work well. Not so with the latest SHIELD exclusive: Pix the Cat manages to blend truly nostalgic gameplay with absolutely gorgeous 2D visuals for an altogether unique experience. Unfortunately you'll need either a SHIELD Android TV or SHIELD Tablet (and a hefty $10) to play it.
The gameplay of Pix is somewhere between Snake and Pac-Man.
It's no secret that NVIDIA has been working on a game streaming service for quite a while — it's called GRID, and anyone with a SHIELD device has been able to test it out for the past several months. Today, the company is announcing the result of all that testing: GeForce Now.
GeForce Now is, at its core, a gaming service. It lets subscribers stream over 50 high-end PC games (at launch), as well as buy and play others instantly. That's pretty huge in itself — without the need to wait for hours for downloads, it removes a lot of the hassle of picking up something new to play.
If you've got NVIDIA's flagship tablet (hopefully you've already swapped yours in for a replacement with a non-explodable battery), then it's time to hit that settings menu and pull the latest update the SHIELD team is pushing out to devices now.
This one's not a huge deal - just a few bugfixes, performance improvements, and stuff like that. The most notable fix is a patch for the Stagefright vulnerability; otherwise, it's pretty simple. Here's a look at the full changelog:
The original Hotline Miami is a love letter to top-down action game excess, marrying tight and lightning-fast controls to neon-soaked, pixelated 80s aesthetics. (Oh, and that movie Drive.) It's a game that everyone should try at least once, if only to prove that you can make a modern game with old-school aesthetics, but keep enough innovation to make the whole experience seem fresh. On Android Hotline Miami is exclusive to the SHIELD, SHIELD Tablet, and SHIELD TV, and so it is with the sequel, Wrong Number.
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.