Nvidia today at GTC shared some exciting news for current Shield owners, as well as an enticing offer to try to attract new buyers.
Shield will see a temporary price drop down to $199 through to the end of April, reflecting a $50 price drop. Shield originally launched in July 2013 at $299. Nvidia didn't share whether or not the price will go back up to $249 after April, but those who have been eyeing up the Tegra 4-powered portable will now have a lower barrier to entry.
Nvidia's also introduced a few new features to Shield that will be rolling out by early April as a part of the upgrade to Android KitKat 4.4.2. One big change is that now Shield owners will be able to GameStream from their Kepler GPUs not just from their home networks, but anywhere. The new version will allow gamers to use Wake on LAN and Remote Login to get their portable gaming going. Gamers can also stream from their notebooks as well, though the use case for this will be a bit more unique given that the host machine itself is portable.
We asked Nvidia what the bandwidth requirements are for a decent experience, and we're told that a 5 Mbit upload is one of the key ingredients. Mirroring that, of course, is the data connection for the Shield, which in theory should also be on a 5 Mbit download. Latency will likely be the biggest wildcard of all. Nvidia's also added new controls for Shield owners to set maximum bit rate and frame rates independently when on Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
Also a part of the KitKat update is a new GamePad Mapper UI that will better allow Shield gamers to play touchscreen games but with physical controls. There's also new Bluetooth keyboard and mouse support for Shield's console mode, which opens up the door for some impromptu big screen gaming setups on your couch.
A new version of TegraZone will also be on the way, improving the interface for gamers to find the games they are looking for. In related game news, Nvidia revealed that Valve has created a version of Portal for Shield. We hope it won't be long before we see that.
Look for our hands-on with the new Shield update coming soon.