Called Project Shield, the handheld console incorporates a five-inch multitouch display hinged onto what looks like a typical console controller, complete with two analog control sticks; a D-pad on the left; A, B, X, and Y buttons on the right; and several more buttons in the center. Nvidia’s chief executive, Jen-Hsun Huang, demonstrated a prototype of the device at CES, but did not reveal pricing or an availability date.
The screen supports 1280 x 720 resolution, but can also output in 4K resolution to compatible displays, according to a BBC report. Inside is Nvidia’s Tegra 4 chip, which features a quad-core design plus a fifth “stealth core,” as Forbes puts it, for low-power operations to preserve battery life when intensive CPU crunching is not required. It also has a 72-core graphics processing unit, which makes it ideal for gaming applications.
Nvidia promises the latest Android Jelly Bean version on Project Shield, so just about any Android game will be playable on the device. There’s also a curated group of games from Nvidia’s own TegraZone, including:
- Arma Tactics
- Blood Sword: Sword of Ruin THD
- Burn Zombie Burn!
- Dead Trigger 2
- Real Boxing
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II
One more feature distinguishing Project Shield from a smartphone with a game controller slapped on is the ability to stream games from your PC via WiFi – as long as it has a compatible Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card. Some games with this capability include:
- Assassin’s Creed III
- Battlefield 3
- Borderlands 2
- Portal 2
While the number of gamers playing the right games with the right hardware may be relatively small for this streaming functionality, Project Shield’s suite of features should make it compelling enough to appeal to many digital entertainment enthusiasts.