Nvidia Explains Why It's Building Shield Family of Devices

There was really no surprise when Nvidia revealed its gaming tablet on Tuesday. We saw plenty of evidence to support its existence over the past several months, and now that it’s here, we have to wonder why Nvidia chose to take the tablet route rather than build upon the first-generation Shield (the Tom's community seemed divided on this issue). The company doesn’t explain why it chose a tablet form factor in its latest blog, but does explain its interest in Android gaming. (Read Tom's Hardware's full coverage of the Shield Tablet here.)

“So far, Android gaming has largely been confined to casual games. But that’s going to change,” writes Nvidia’s Jeff Fisher. “We see a different future for Android gaming. We’re committed to turning Android into a vibrant platform that can excite gamers and provide the foundation for a vibrant industry.”

That’s where the Shield family comes in. Just like the GPUs that transformed the PC industry back in the late 1990s, Nvidia has released two processors that directly affect and enhance Android games, namely the Tegra 4 and the Tegra K1. This time around, Nvidia isn’t just supplying a chip to make visuals pretty and smooth, but has pushed the change even further by developing actual devices that cater to the Android gamer.

Perhaps that’s why Nvidia chose to create a Shield tablet and standalone controller: to offer a gaming solution that also provides mainstream usage (emails, web surfing etc), a factor that just wasn’t ideal on the original Shield handheld. According to Fisher, both products are “purpose built” to give individual gamers what they need in an Android device.

“Like the PC, Android is an open platform,” Fisher wrote. “Like the PC, Android has a huge installed base of users. But the underlying performance, software tools and resulting content have yet to be delivered.” He also said that Nvidia’s goal is to “turbocharge” Android gaming, to inspire developers to create “never-before-seen” experiences.

“Not so long ago, Android gaming was limited to touchscreen controls on your smartphone or tablet,” Fisher wrote. “You could buy a third-party controller. But it was with the hope that everything would somehow work together smoothly. The Shield portable, the first product in our Shield family of Android gaming devices, changed that.”

Nvidia revealed the Shield Tablet on Tuesday. The hardware specifications show that it sports an 8-inch IPS screen with a 1920 x 1200 resolution. Powering this screen is Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra K1 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz and packing 192 Kepler GPU cores. The tablet also features 2 GB of RAM, and a battery that promises up to 10 hours of video playback.

The specs list also shows a 5MP HDR camera on the front, a 5MP auto focus HDR camera on the back, dual-band Wireless N and Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity, and a DirectStylus 2 stylus that can be stored in its own built-in “holster.” Other features include GPS, sensors such as gyro, compass and g-sensor, mini HDMI 1.4 output, a microUSB 2.0 port, front-facing stereo speakers and a 3.5 mm headphone jack with microphone support.

To read Fisher’s full blog, head here.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
24 comments
    Your comment
  • mapesdhs
    The only thing that surprises me about the tablet's specs is the low amount
    of RAM. Somehow 2GB just doesn't seem like that much these days, but
    then I'm not familiar with Android's typical footprint.

    Personally I'm more interested in SLI Maxwell to drive a 4K TV...

    Ian.
    -3
  • Yuka
    This one is easy to answer!

    Because they haven't been able to sell the chips to 3rd parties thanks to Qualcomm and Samsung :zippy:

    Cheers! XD!
    6
  • npyrhone
    A new device with 1920x1200 resolution! Can't believe my eyes! 16:10, come back!
    5