Nvidia's Jason Paul reported on Sunday that the company's delayed Android gaming handheld Shield is now in full production and will begin shipping on July 31 (opens in new tab). The console was originally slated to arrive on June 27, but was pushed back a month due to what the company called a "third-party mechanical component". Nvidia said it would ship in July, but did not provide an exact date.
"Last month, we made the difficult decision to delay the launch of Shield due to a mechanical issue we found in our rigorous testing process," Paul said. "Since then we have been working non-stop to put Shield through its paces and ensure it meets the highest quality control standards in the industry."
He also said that Shield Experience Centers will be established in select Gamestop, MicroCenter and MicroCenter and Canada Computers brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S. and Canada so that gamers can get a hands-on taste of the Android device. Order now through a Shield Experience Center or online, and customers will get a limited-edition Shield t-shirt, while supplies last.
Unfortunately, these Experience Centers are limited in number. On the east coast, there are a total of seven so far spanning GameStop and MicroCenter. On the west coast, there are only six, all residing at GameStop. Eight additional locations are spread out across central America and at three locations in Canada. Exact locations are listed here (opens in new tab).
In mid-June Nvidia reduced Shield's retail price point, dropping the cost from $349 down to $299. Paul said the new price is in response to feedback the company received from gamers and the press who have fondled the device since it was first introduced back at CES 2013 in January.
"Feedback from gamers is why Shield’s triggers have the perfect throw length. Why Shield’s buttons have just the right amount of give. Why Shield’s thumb sticks are so satisfying to flick. Why playing games on Shield’s pure Android software feels so slick," said Paul.
Shield is essentially a 5-inch 720p flip-up tablet crammed into a game controller sporting a Tegra 4 SoC, dual-band Wireless N connectivity, 16 GB of internal storage, 2 GB of RAM, Bluetooth 3.0, mini-HDMI output, integrated speakers and more. It's the second in a string of Android consoles launching in 2013, and follows the OUYA which, unlike Shield's pure Android "Jelly Bean" and support for Google Play, has a custom Android-based interface and doesn't support Google Play purchases.