Nvidia has, in the past few years, remained one of the major players in the Android ecosystem. While they didn’t have the head start Qualcomm and other system-on-a-chip manufacturers did, Nvidia did bring innovation to the platform in the graphics front with their Tegra chips, which you may recall, equipped the original Nexus 7 and were one of the reference designs supported by Google. Today, things are a bit different. The innovation didn’t stop, but as of yet, Nvidia hasn’t had a breakout hit in the Android platform for a while. Their last bet, the Nvidia Shield, was a portable console running Android, with desktop streaming capabilities and very beefy specs, but it wasn’t a hit despite the reasonable hardware and useful features. Now, Nvidia is betting it all on a new product: the Shield Tablet. Let’s find out more.
The latest version of Nvidia’s SoC solution is the Tegra K1, a robust platform that Nvidia claims will be able to outperform both the PS3 and XBox 360 in the graphics department while using less power. Early benchmarks and tests did show that this design was indeed very powerful and lived up to the hype, however, there haven’t been a lot of devices carrying this chip. Nvidia is aiming to fix this by bringing their own device to the table: the Nvidia Shield Tablet. And like before, this will be a gaming device as well as a regular Android device!
The specs as of yet claim that the tablet will have a 8 inch display with 1920×1200 resolution, 2GB of RAM, 2.2GHz Quad Core CPU and a 192 CUDA core GPU. In addition to these, the tablet will also have a few particular features: a stereo speaker configuration with hardware dual bass reflex, a 5MP font facing camera with HDR support and a 5MP back camera. In terms of gaming, the Shield Tablet will be compatible with Nvidia’s new wireless Shield controller, with a full analog configuration, analog triggers and a headphone/mic jack for voice chat. There may also be support for third party controllers, as this is a feature Android supports, but it hasn’t been revealed yet.
The tablet will also be compatible with the DirectStylus technology already available in current Tegra 4 tablets, which was one of the beloved features of the platform in the past, supporting gestures, pressure sensitivity and natural easing for a very low price, ideal for artists looking to do quick mock-ups or even serious work. The tablet will be available for $299 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, with a more expensive 32GB version featuring LTE connectivity for $399. To be honest, both the specs and presentation of this tablet look amazing, and with a pricing this aggressive, I could see it becoming a best-seller and the breakout hit Nvidia is hoping for. It’s all there: powerful specs, gaming capabilities, stylus support and a stock Android experience. While we haven’t yet seen what Google is planning to bring with their next Nexus refresh in time for the Android L release, this is already making some waves and with the right distribution and availability could absolutely destroy the competition. Looking forward to getting one of these bad boys? Let us know in the comment section below!