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Asus May Offer Gaming Device to Compete With Nvidia Shield

A recent leak provided by AnTuTu reveals that Asus is working on a gaming device called the Gamebox. The form factor is unknown at this point, but there's speculation that the device could be a handheld gaming machine like the Nvidia Shield, or a tablet like the Archos GamePad with built-in controls.

According to the leaked specs, the Gamebox will feature a Nvidia Tegra 4 clocked up to 1.91 GHz, 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. The built-in screen's native resolution will be 1280 x 720, meaning this device could go either way in regards to competing with Nvidia or Archos. The OS of choice will be Android 4.3 "Jelly Bean."

By comparison, the Shield sports a Nvidia Tegra 4 chip, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. The built-in 5-inch screen has a native resolution of 1280 x 720, which is identical to the Asus Gamebox. Other features include dual-band Wireless N connectivity, Bluetooth 3.0, a microSD card reader, mini-HDMI output and more. The price is $249 USD.

As another comparison, the Archos GamePad 2, which has built in controls on both sides of the screen, is powered by a quad-core Cortex-A9 chip clocked at 1.6 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage, and a 7-inch IPS panel with a 1280 x 800 resolution. There's also a microSD card slot for storing media, dual-band Wireless N and Bluetooth connectivity, and so on. The price starts at $199.99 USD.

That said, the Asus device could have a tablet or controller form factor with a screen measuring 5 inches to 7 inches. Benchmarks show that the Asus Gamebox essentially has the same performance as the Nvidia Shield, leading to speculation that it may be a handheld unit.

So why clone the Shield? Based on the specs, Asus looks to undercut Nvidia in pricing by offering a smaller internal storage size, thus providing a cheaper alternative. Unfortunately, only around 6 GB of storage is made available to the user, allowing for three or four Gameloft games to be installed at once.

If Asus is going after the tablet market instead, Asus will not only be competing with Archos, but the Wikipad 7 and several other lesser-known tablet makers. Asus could have the upper hand based on name alone -- even more so now that Asus has become the maker of Google's Nexus 7 line of tablets.

Currently, the actual pricing and release date is unknown, but perhaps we'll see more information later this month during Mobile World Congress.