JULY 22, 2014 • On July 29 Nvidia Corp. is releasing an eight-inch Android tablet in its Nvidia Shield Tablet hardware line. The device comes with a native 1900×1200 HD screen and a mini-HDMI 1.4b port to connect HDTVs. The Shield Tablet is powered by a quad-core, 2.2GHz Tegra K1 mobile processor. The $299 model comes with 16GB of built-in flash storage and Wi-Fi for online connectivity. For $100 more storage is raised to 32KB and LTE mobile connectivity to T-Mobile or AT&T networks is added. Both models come equipped with a micro-SD port for removable storage, plus front and back facing 5-megapixel cameras. The $399 version will not be available until September, however. Nvidia claims up to 10 hours of streaming video playback, or five to six hours of gameplay, is possible on the tablet’s battery. To allow for better gameplay Nvidia is also releasing a $59 Shield wireless controller that operates using Wi-Fi Direct. Another accessory is a $39 case that also doubles as a stand.
Impact: Last year’s Shield (renamed Shield Portable) dedicated Android gaming device was a beautiful piece of hardware, but in market terms, we did not see consumer demand for a $299 portable Android game system. True, you could stream PC titles from a desktop, but on how many occasions do most PC gamers need or want to move their gameplay to the garage? This year’s Shield tablet is an entirely different proposition, however. Lots of people have need of a top-of-the-line tablet, and $299 is a very attractive price point in that device category. The fact that the device is an excellent mobile game system only adds to the value. Nvidia claims the K1 processor is more powerful than what the Xbox 360 shipped with. Given the easy connection to the living room HDTV the Shield tablet can also be employed as a capable mini-console. In that capacity, paying extra for the gamepad is probably a necessity for long-term control input. Another plus in this area is that Nvidia’s tablet supports new 4K televisions, as well as Netflix HD. The entire feature set should be a winner with anyone looking for an Android tablet. Nvidia also makes it easy to connect with their Shield Hub online store, plus the Nvidia Grid beta where AAA PC games can be streamed. If Nvidia is serious with marketing this tablet we think many consumers beyond the gaming community will be interested.