Nvidia has announced a new tablet-shaped sibling for its Shield Portable gaming handheld.
The Shield Portable was released last July exclusively in the US and Canada – a move Nvidia product manager Chris Daniel told MCV was alike to a ‘trial run’ for the product.
The handheld, which combines a flip-down touchscreen with a controller form factor, allows users to play Android games and stream supported PC games from their desktop using Nvidia’s GameStream service.
The new Shield Tablet will retain these features, but will require the purchase of a separate Shield wireless controller, costing $59 (£34), for controller-only games. A Shield Tablet cover will also be available, priced at $39 (£23).
The eight-inch Tablet will also support connection to a television in ‘Console Mode’, allowing a wireless controller be used to play games in a living room setup.
The Tablet bumps up the Portable’s Tegra 4 processor to Nvidia’s flagship 192-core Tegra K1 mobile CPU, backed by 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD), two five-megapixel cameras, 802.11abgn MIMO Wi-Fi (a 32GB LTE SKU will also be available) and Bluetooth 4.0.
Despite the jump in specs, Daniel told MCV that the new form factor was designed to exist alongside the original Portable, rather than replace it, in the hope of attracting a larger audience base.
"It's a family of products now, so the Portable and Tablet will live together,” he said. “The gamer who wants the Android gaming portable with everything integrated: the console-grade controls integrated, screen integrated; the Shield Portable is still the best option for them. But for those users who want a tablet and are also gamers, Shield Tablet is the device for them.”
The device will hit UK shores in mid-August, retailing for £229, and will come bundled with a Tegra K1-optimised edition of hit PC and console title Trine 2, as well as Nvidia’s self-developed Dabbler painting app.
Despite the release of the Shield Tablet in the UK, consumers hoping for the original Portable will have to wait a little longer.
“We're not announcing the Portable coming to the UK or worldwide at this time, but we expect the Shield family of products to be worldwide eventually,” Daniel explained.