Last year Nvidia launched its first ever gaming handheld. The Nvidia Shield wasn’t much of a success in terms of sales, but it provided a new way to play PC games and Android games that are built for controllers. The Shield wasn’t just a Tegra 4 powered handheld gaming console, it could also stream PC games via a speedy WiFi network and a computer powered by a recent Nvidia graphics card. Nvidia also offered a way to stream games from their GRID online gaming service much as services like OnLive have done in the past. Regardless of all these features, a bad combination of high price and little advertising meant the system was more or less doomed from the start. Thankfully for mobile gaming enthusiasts though it looks like Nvidia isn’t giving up on its mobile gaming ambitions, rather readying a new way of playing mobile games than it has tried before.
This time around it looks like Nvidia is putting together a tablet meant specifically for gaming, and will sell a dedicated controller to go alongside of it. What’s more is that it’s going to be powered by the upcoming Tegra K1, the incredibly powerful new chipset from the company that beats everything on the market in terms of raw gaming performance. This tablet will feature similar functionality to the Shield, including the ability to stream your PC games over a WiFi network so you don’t have to hog up the TV, and will also be able to play the latest Android games with perfect performance. The upcoming device will also be able to display Android games on your TV if you so wish via an HDMI port built into the device.
The new device is said to be a tablet since it can run all Android apps in a more native form factor, unlike the Shield which has a prominent controller interface attached to the screen. Since the controller for the new device is separate users can just use it like a regular tablet or gaming machine whenever they want. What still needs to be considered though is that you’re going to need an Nvidia graphics card to take part in at least one big part of the core functionality of the new device; a problem that limited the market for the Shield and will continue to do so as long as Nvidia continues to limit this streaming capability to its own PC graphics cards. The tablet is being built more to show off the technology to manufacturers anyway, so Nvidia doesn’t really plan to take this beyond the niche product that the Shield was, which is surprising given how few devices on the market use Nvidia’s Tegra lineup of chipsets.