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By 29 July 2013 | Categories: news

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The marriage between the Android OS platform for games, a touchscreen and an Xbox controller appears to be alive and well, as Nvidia’s Shield portable gaming device will apparently start shipping at the end of this month.

This follows a month long delay, as the otherwise alluring device seemed to fade from view for a bit since its unveiling at CES at the beginning of the year. According to AndroidCentral, the company sent out a notice to those who had placed pre-orders thanking users for their patience and confirming that the Shield will be available from this Wednesday, Stateside at least.

The note also explained the delay with this comment: “Our goal has always been to ship the perfect product, so we made sure we submitted Shield to the most rigorous mechanical testing and quality assurance standards in the industry. We built Shield because we love playing games, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.”

‘With your Shield or on it’*

The device, which boasts the Tegra 4 rocessor, is a mashup between 5” touchscreen with a 1280 x 720 resolution, and a largely familiar console controller with dual analog sticks, and runs on stock Android 4.2.

Shield accommodates all Google Play games, but its particular claim to fame is that it can stream PC games as well – so long as you have a powerful enough desktop PC equipped with an Nvidia GTX 650 or higher graphics card, and a decent Wi-Fi connection, of course.

The Shield further conjures comparisons between it and the PS Vita as well as the Nintendo 3DS (review), as it offers 16 GB of onboard storage and a microSD card for expansion respectively, along with mini HDMI and micro USB  ports, GPS, integrated speakers and Bluetooth.

Further sweetening the pot is the fact that the device also underwent a pricecut prior to launch, from its original $350 (R3 400) to just under $300 (R2 900).

To the point

Admittedly, there has been no word as yet as to a local release. However, the fact that the Kindle Fire made it to our shore gives us hope that some enterprising distributor at least could pick up the Shield in due course.

However, the most interesting aspect of the Shield to us is not just the second screen phenomenon, but rather the ‘portabilisation’ of gaming in general. With tablet and mobile gaming even challenging the pastime on consoles, it’s particularly interesting to see another take on mobile gaming which marries the convenience of using a controller with the plethora of games on the Google Play Store.

With this launch Nvidia must be commended, because launching a portable gaming device to battle it out amongst 7,” 8” and 10” tablets is certainly a brave move. Moreover, it appears that the company is most certainly not fleeing from a fight, even as the next-gen consoles gear up for an assault of their own in the months ahead.     

For a quick look at – or a reminder for the PC gaming faithful of –  the Shield’s compatibility with PC games, cast your eyes on the video below, which shows Borderlands 2 being streamed to the device.  

*For those who have yet to see Zach Snyder’s 300, or are not familiar with Spartan history, this phrase was apparently told by Spartan wives to their husbands when sending them off to war. In battle, a coward would drop their rather large shield so as to flee faster, whereas a brave warrior would rather die than run.  Thus, warriors returning from battle victorious would do so with their shield. Those who had perished in battle would be carried home on their shield by their comrades.  

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