It has been a while since we last heard from NVIDIA about Project Shield. Today, NVIDIA is dropping "Project" from the name, making it formally just Shield, and simultaneously announcing pricing and availability information about its Tegra 4-packing handheld gaming console. The specs for Shield remain the same as what we saw at CES 2013 — 1.9 GHz Tegra 4 SoC, 5-inch 720p display, and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. What's nice about getting a device straight from the SoC vendor in this case is that NVIDIA promises it will be able to push out OTA updates with the latest and greatest Android version basically in lock step with its own official Tegra 4 BSP (Board Support Package) software offerings, which makes it essentially the Tegra 4 reference platform.

SoC NVIDIA Tegra 4 - 1.9 GHz
Display 5-inch 720p "Retinal" Display
Wireless Connectivity 2x2:2 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi + BT 3.0, GPS
Storage 16 GB NAND, microSD Expansion
I/O microUSB 2.0, mini-HDMI, 3.5mm headphone
OS Android 4.2.1, Updates from NVIDIA
Price $349.00, Preorders May 20, Shipping Late June

As for availability, the big news is pricing, which will be $349 in the US, with preorders starting on May 20th from vendors familiar to everyone. NVIDIA called out Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center, and Canada Computers explicitly as preorder vendors, with others to follow after the preorder period. As for ship date, NVIDIA is aiming for late June for fulfillment. At $349 the Shield is more expensive than the major first party handheld gaming consoles like the Sony PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS, but an impressive middle ground and price point nonetheless for basically what boils down to a higher-end smartphone sans cellular stack but with a built in gamepad. We're excited to get hands on with Shield in its final form with the final tuning of its joysticks, triggers, and D-Pad.

In conjunction with the launch of Shield will be availability of the PC game streaming functionality as well, initially in beta form. NVIDIA has a set of recommended titles which have been optimized for the Shield controller scheme, and as we experienced at CES likely include UI tweaks to make 720p handheld gaming a reality. 

Source: NVIDIA Blog (Shield), (5 Games

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  • Ortanon - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Making it 720p was a smart move.
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    This thing remains exciting hardware...but I don't know what to do with it on the software side. Android is worthless to me as a gaming platform. I wish it could run (real) Windows...
  • jeffkibuule - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    And streaming requires owning a GTX 660 or higher, which rules out any AMD people and some Nvidia GPU owners as well. It just seems too much like a hobby product, especially at a price of $349. Even the Vita struggles at $249, and that thing has far more original titles to play (plus PSOne games)

    We'll see I guess.
  • Ortanon - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    *GTX 650. I doubt people will really care about the streaming thing anyway. Still, either way it is a pretty cool feature.

    I agree about the Vita, but the Vita is a marketing failure so that doesn't really count.
  • jeffkibuule - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    I knew it was one of the two. Still doesn't help me since I bought a Radeon HD 7970 in February. Basically ignoring Shield.
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    The streaming is really the only thing I do care about as I don't care about Android games. There's significant savings to be had in having one beast rig that can game on any TV in the house over gigabit or WiFi. Right now I've got HTPC/gaming machines on every display in the house, which cost a lot more than the Shield. However, each computer can play at the same time, making multiplayer a simple task, something that Shield doesn't really help with. Also, it doesn't help with games that use M+K, unless it has a USB port for that... On the flip side, we don't play many multiplayer games. It's definitely a niche product, but I can see the draw...
  • Ortanon - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    A niche product. You mean, like HTPCs and gaming rigs. lol.
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    You actually think this will be mainstream? o.O
  • Ortanon - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    It's too much of a 'tweener to be mainstream. I just wanted to tease you on making a whole comment about your use of niche products and then downplaying the Shield's niche qualities. I use an HTPC myself.
  • andrewaggb - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Yeah I have radeon's in my desktops. Plus with APU's and Haswell coming out right away (we're only talking about 720p) I think it's a mistake to not support AMD and Intel.

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