NVIDIA announced the new SHIELD Preview Program, an initiative which allows owners of the company's SHIELD product lineup to try out new software before public release. The new program is open to users of the SHIELD TV and all SHIELD tablets, the company said.
Those who sign up for the program will be given the opportunity to test out new features and enhancement before their official rollout. In order to sign up to be part of the program, NVIDIA SHIELD owners need to be members of the official NVIDIA SHIELD forums. They are also required to sign up with their personal information including forum e-mail and display name, as well as device serial number and SHIELD Product ID via the program's official website. For those who own multiple SHIELD devices, NVIDIA said that they will be required to enroll each product separately. While testing out yet-unreleased software updates may sound exciting, users should keep in mind that early builds such as the ones promised by the company will probably contain at least a few bugs and performance issues. NVIDIA requires testers to provide their feedback on its official private discussion forum so it can fix any issues before publicly releasing its software.
Users enrolled in NVIDIA's new Preview Program could help test software updates like SHIELD Experience 5.0.2 which back in January brought an abundance of new features to the original NVIDIA SHIELD TV. The build bumped the two-year-old TV box to Android 7.0 Nougat and introduced a host of new features including support for Amazon Video, GameStream in 4K HDR and the ability to view live video from your Nest Cams with the Nest app on the device. NVIDIA's SHIELD tablet duo also got updated to Android 7.0 Nougat back in February, which brought forth things like support for the SHIELD Controller (2017) or multi-tasking capabilities where tablet owners were allowed to use more than one app at the same time. With the new program, NVIDIA continues its commitment to delivering software updates to the SHIELD product family in the future, though it remains to be seen how frequently will the company end up distributing new firmware builds for its devices.