Nvidia hopes Shield eventually overtakes Xbox, PS4

For now, the Android gaming handheld is complementary to consoles

By , IDG News Service |  Personal Tech

"As the Android software gaming environment builds out, you'll see a lot more [buyers]," Petersen said.

Nvidia is using Android as a way to regain position in the gaming market. Nvidia's graphics chips were used in the Xbox 360, but the company lost out on the latest gaming consoles to Advanced Micro Devices, whose x86 CPU and Radeon graphics processor are in the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One. AMD is now planning a gaming strategy where it will provide extensions that make it easy to port console games to PCs.

Shield would also be a compelling device for gaming over the cloud, Petersen said. Games initiated and processed in remote data centers could be delivered over the cloud to Shield, much like the device's current ability to receive games from PCs over a wireless network.

Nvidia has already announced Grid servers that are packed with its graphics cards to speed up the processing of games in data centers, but the company has not yet linked Grid servers to Shield.

Nvidia has also invested in Ouya, which will start shipping the $99 cube-shaped gaming console that can be connected to TVs to play Android games. Ouya is viewed as a low-cost alternative to PS4 and Xbox, and runs on Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor, which has 12 graphics cores. The Shield's Tegra 4 chip offers a superior gaming experience.

Shield's 5-inch screen has a 720p resolution, displaying images at a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. It has Wi-Fi, 16GB of storage and micro-SD for expandable storage. A mini-HDMI port helps stream full 1920 x 1080-pixel images to TV sets. It is also able to run games wirelessly streamed from PCs with GeForce graphics cards.

The device, which weighs 579 grams, offers five to six hours of game-play or up to 10 hours of video playback on a single battery charge. Shield can also function as a tablet.

Shield will begin shipping by the end of this month. Around 40 to 60 game titles will be initially available for it.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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