During its press conference at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, Nvidia managed to pull out a big surprise and announced its own portable gaming console based on the new Tegra 4 chip, the Nvidia Project Shield.
The new Shield is pretty much a standard sized controller with a flip-up 5-inch 1280x720 294dpi Retina-class touchscreen with Nvidia DirectTouch tech. It features rechargeable batteries capable to keep up with up to 38 hours of gaming and up to 24 hours of HD video playback, great integrated audio system with custom bass reflex and integrated console-grade game controller. HDMI output, microUSB, microSDcard slot and a 3.5mm audio jack are also on board. It also features integrated 802.11n 2x2 MIMO game-speed Wi-Fi that provides high-bandwidth, ultra-fast wireless for seamless game streaming.
It is, at least currently, based on Android Jelly Bean OS, or according to Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, pure Android with no custom UI. Thank God for that.
The backside of the screen part of the Shield features a customizable tag/shield and the entire console is pretty much the size of a standard controller.
Jensen had it connected to the 4K LG TV and it is pretty much what you would expect from an Android based device. You can actually control the device with either the controller or the touch screen and it appears that Tegra 4 has enough power to push a 4K video via HDMI output, as eagerly demonstrated at the presentation. The Project Shield is, as expected, connected to the Nvidia Tegra Zone but it can also stream games from the PC as it connects to Steam and its Big Picture mode.
The Shield is, according to Jensen, Android "the way it's meant to be played". Unfortunately, Nvidia did not shed any official light on the actual release date and did not even provide any hint regarding the price of the upcoming project Shield portable gaming console. Some sources as well as the rumors on the floor suggest that it could show up sometime in Q2.
You can check out a nice video of it after the break.