By Vamien McKalin | May 15, 2013 11:42 AM EDT
NVIDIA is taking pre-orders of its Shield gaming console that is based on Android come next week, Tuesday. According to the company, the device will retail for $349 and will ship out to early adopters in June. At first glance, Shield might look like it is designed only for games, but the device is more than that, it can also be used as a means to stream content from a PC.
At first glance, Shield looks impressive; it has all the main characteristics to be a solid handheld gaming device. It has Tegra 4 quad core processor with 72 core GPU, so this should get any Android gamer excited and ready to play. It probably does, but when you take into account that the $349 price tag is a full $100 more than the PlayStation Vita, things might begin to look different.
Compared to the Vita, Android's game catalog is huge, but how many titles are worth playing? In addition, how many titles are available that will take advantage of the power of the Shield? NVIDIA has good intentions with this device, no doubt, but there's this uncanny feeling that the company's effort is a little too late.
One thing to note, other competing gaming consoles based on Android such as the Ouya, only cost $99. Moreover, it is possible you might already have an Android smartphone that is capable of playing the same games available for the Shield, so you'd be thinking, "why do I need this massive piece of brick?"
Let's take a look at the streaming capabilities of the Shield. Streaming content from a PC might sound promising, but wait until you realize that you'll need a GeForce GTX desktop GPU, 650 or higher for it to work.
This thing is huge
Furthermore, we also have to take into account the size of the Shield. No wonder NVIDIA gave it that name; the device is so big it could probably be used to block multiple projectiles. Don't expect to have a comfortable time walking with this device outside of your home, because it wouldn't be able to fit in your pocket, unless you have some weird customized clothing going on.
Sure, quite a few people will go out and purchase this thing, but it wouldn't be enough to warrant a second device in the long run. We expect the Shield to be the first and final handheld gaming device attempt from NVIDIA. The company should stick to what it does best and leave the handheld gaming business to those who have an idea how it works.
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