Back in mid-September, NVIDIA announced a new platform called Tegra Note that aimed to not only bring $200 Tegra 4 slates to the market, but excellent stylus support using NVIDIA's DirectStylus technology, a "groundbreaking" camera experience, and superb audio as well. That's a tall order in a $200 device, but NVIDIA has proven that when it sets out to achieve a goal, it's generally successful at delivering on the promises made.
The Nexus 5 was perhaps the worst-kept secret in tech this year, but nonetheless, rumor and speculation built up a category 5 hypestorm around it - everything from the farfetched, like revolutionary camera tech and flexible displays, to the mundane-but-desirable, like a much larger battery or 3GB of RAM.
But now the Nexus 5 is finally here, and Google has, for the most part, built a very iterative product.
Star Command is one of my most-anticipated games for Android. Or at least it was, two years ago when it was scheduled to be released, and then again when it was released for iOS five months ago. An unreasonably long development cycle and some dodgy developer antics have made waiting for this game an exercise in frustration, and it's impossible to give it a full review without at least some bitterness hanging on in the back of my mind.
When it comes to Android tablets with detachable keyboards, one name comes to mind: Transformer. There's no denying that ASUS has carved out a pretty specific niche in the Android tablet/laptop convertible category. HP is looking to change that with the SlateBook x2, a 10.2-inch Android tablet with a keyboard dock that essentially converts it to an Android-powered laptop. It's small enough to fall into the "netbook" category, but that's a dirty word I try to stay away from.
Gameloft has released eight games in the Asphalt series in just under nine years. If practice makes perfect, then Asphalt 8 should be nothing less than the greatest racing game ever made. It doesn't quite live up to that lofty goal, but as a top-tier Android game and an impressive arcade-style racer in its own right, it's worth your attention even if you're only casually interested in racing games.
Between the Hot Wheels physics, licensed cars, online play, and gorgeous presentation, Asphalt 8 is worth a lot more than its $1 asking price.
Rumors about Chrome OS running on a tiny HDMI stick started leaking out a few months ago, but we were all wrong about what it was going to be. The Chromecast is not a shrunken down Chromebox – it's not even really a Chrome OS device in the strictest sense. The Chromecast is Google's latest attempt to be invited into your living room. It also might be the first one to succeed.
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.
PC gamers know the ARMA series as wickedly difficult, painstakingly accurate military shooters - the thinking man's (or possibly masochist's) alternative to the likes of Call of Duty. For its first full mobile game, ARMA is eschewing the first person shooter genre in favor of a tactical game: a top-down, turn-based combat system where strategy wins over speed and reflexes. It's a good choice for touchscreens, and an understandable one given ARMA's current fanbase.
Expansive role playing games are usually the realm of PCs and consoles. Experience systems, loot, quests, massive 3D worlds, and magic are too much for a puny phone or tablet to handle, right? Well, maybe not. Crescent Moon Games was somewhat successful bringing that experience to mobile devices with last year's Aralon: Sword and Shadow. Now the developer has gone back to the land of Tyreas in Ravensword: Shadowland. Is this your next RPG adventure?
Like a lot of you, I watched NVIDIA's press conference with my jaw firmly on the floor when Project Shield was unveiled. It's a true Android gaming portable, built from the ground up to make a great gaming experience - not a phone or a tablet that also plays games, with varying degrees of efficiency, like Sony's now outdated Xperia Play or Archos' Gamepad. And it's made by NVIDIA, the company with the most to gain by expanding the platform's gaming horizons.