During its pre-CES keynote being held at the moment, Nvidia has announced a previously unknown portable gaming console codenamed “Shield”. The portable console features a 5-inch 1280 x720 resolution display at 294 dpi with a clamshell hinge underpinned by an attached Xbox 360-alike gamepad. The gamepad will also contain the system internals and I/O, which includes a microSD expansion slot, miniHDMI port with 4K output support depending on display compatibility and a standard headphone jack along with a USB port.
The console will be running on what Nvidia claims will be standard Android Jelly Bean with no skinning or modifications to the core operating system, while the system is being demoed with full Google Apps access and apparent complete certification. The Shield is also claimed to feature game streaming capability from the host PC to the Shield or from the Shield to a television, though the attempted demos failed awkwardly when attempted.
Once the streaming demos were sorted, Nvidia showed off Need For Speed and Steam’s Big Picture Mode optimized for widescreen televisions streaming from a host PC to the Shield, to an HDTV with no perceptible lag, showcasing the intention for the Shield to act as both a dedicated Android console and an intermidiary device capable of streaming PC content to it and HDTV’s without needing to stay at a desk for full-scale PC gaming.
More specific information on the console is expected in the coming days as Nvidia will be demoing the console to game developers and publishers in attendance. No pricing or availability information was revealed during the conference other than it being planned for release sometime in the second quarter of the year.