CES has always been the trade show where many exciting gadgets first show up. And the Nvidia Shield is easily one of the more exciting announcements we've had this early in the event.
Remember when we knew Nvidia as that company who makes your graphic cards? Yeah, that sort of changed a while back when they introduced Tegra to the world. And that's changing even more so with their new creation -- a full-fledged mobile gaming console. Yep, watch out PSP and DS.
The Nvidia Shield is a small handheld gaming system running Nvidia's brand-spanking-new Tegra 4 quad-core chip. Designed for full tactile gaming (as opposed to your smartphone's swipes and taps), it comes with an integrated controller that definitely looks inspired by the Xbox 360's control pad (which I, personally, adore), complete with two analog sticks, a D-pad, and a smattering of action buttons. Battery is currently sketchy, although Nvidia claims they're looking at between 5 to 10 hours of gameplay.
Unlike the PSP or the DS, it runs pure Android (all those games on the Play store should be a go) and is an open platform. It uses standard connectors, has a microSD slot and is, basically, an Android phone (sans phone functions, of course) optimized for playing games. It can connect to the cloud (not sure if WiFi only or if carrier data is supported) for all your online gaming pursuits, as well as to PC games, provided they use GEForce graphics cards.
As of now, the Nvidia Shield is still in the prototype stage, so some of the design and hardware elements can change. They are looking at bringing it to market shortly, though, very likely within the year.
We are at CES in Las Vegas, so stay tuned for more pics and hands on time with this device.