Nvidia Shield Portable Games Console Review

Introduction


The Nvidia Shield, a Tegra 4 powered Android gaming device, has been on the market for a while now, but a recent price drop and a rapidly increasing range of features thanks to a few firmware updates caught my attention. With the price now at a very reasonable £150-200 (depending on where you look) it’s a strong contender for the money in your wallet vs other portable gaming options.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been a big fan of mobile gaming, sure I’ve had a little tinker on a few apps from time to time, especially on long journeys, but there are just too many cons that outweigh the pros of gaming on devices such as smartphones. Devices often get quite hot while gaming, battery life take a big hit, ergonomics of touch screen devices isn’t ideal for gaming, touch screen controls aren’t always suitable for gaming and cost of the device its self can also be quite high. Then of course you have the world of hand-held games consoles such as the 3DS and PlayStation Vita which offer strong competition to the mobile market, but don’t have the same level of market penetration as the big smart phone manufacturers do.

Nvidia is a big player in the gaming world, and that is hardly a surprise given that they produce many of the most popular graphics solutions on the market and have done for some time. Nvidia also dominates a large portion of the mobile market thanks to their Tegra hardware, which is a SoC (System-on-chip) product that powers many of today’s top smartphone and tablet devices, it’s even at the heart of the latest Tesla electric cars and more importantly it also powers the Nvidia Shield android gaming device which we are taking a look at today.

With its unique clamshell controller/screen design combo, the Nvidia Shield is unlike most smart devices. On its flagship Tegra 4 processors it runs the latest version of Android, which packing a colossal feature set that makes it one of the most unusual and diverse gaming devices ever created. So let’s get right to it and take a closer look at what Nvidias new toy has to offer.

The box is really nicely designed and comes with a stunning picture of the Shield on the front, with some of the major features listed down the right hand side such as the Tegra 4 processors, integrated console controller and Google Play support.

The back of the box is a little vague, with just an image of the system with its lid closed and the phrase “take android gaming to the next level” at the top.

The box is really cool, opening out like a treasure chest and displaying the Shield on a display mount, makes it feel like a special occasion opening the box.

There isn’t a whole lot in the box, but aside from the console you’ll find mains to USB charging plug, a good quality Nvidia branded USB to micro USB cable and a collection of booklets.

The booklets consist of a registration and warranty guide, as well as a quick start guide.

The quick start guide is clearly laid out in full colour, with plenty of descriptive screenshots and it’s perfect for helping you get setup and gaming in next to no time.

EVGA Tegra NOTE 7 Launched, Worlds Fastest 7″ Android Tablet

EVGA have just launched their fast as lightening Tegra NOTE 7 into Europe, with immediate availability in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, with more European countries to follow soon. This is great news for performance junkies as it packs some seriously impressive hardware that sets it a fair bit ahead of the competition in this size category.

“The EVGA Tegra NOTE 7 tablet is the perfect travelling companion – combining a lightning-fast mobile processor with a brilliant 7-inch (17.8 cm) HD display in a sleek, comfortable design. Play the latest games at full speed. Capture stunning photos. Watch HD video for up to ten hours. And listen to your favourite music with booming, room-filling NVIDIA PureAudio. It’s mobile freedom at the speed of life.” Said EVGA in a recent press release.

As you can see from the rather extensive feature set below, there isn’t much that the new tablet can’t do and when it comes to working or gaming you’ll be enjoying the benefits of the new Nvidia Tegra 4 processors. The new processor features a quad-core design for the high end stuff, while also having a 5th core that can be used to conserve power when you don’t need the tablet to run at full power. The onboard GPU features 72 cores that will be able to make easy work of even the most demanding mobile applications.

Input is taken care of by the a high quality touch scree and the addition of the only chisel tip stylus on the market, which is said to be 3x more responsive that other stylus solutions. This allows for natural writing on the screen and will no doubt prove handy for those using the device for work as well as gaming tasks.

  • Patented stylus system allows for highly sensitive variable stroke width
  • 3x more responsive than other available stylus solutions
  • Only Chisel-tip stylus on the market
  • Intuitive note taking, annotation, capturing, and sharing
  • Edit PDFs: write, save, share
  • Full lasso selection for easy editing
  • Grab images in any app, and easily share
  • Stylus support, plus finger and palm recognition

The tablet also features the new Nvidia Chimera technology, this enables always-on HDR and give s the NOTE 7 the title of being the only HDR camera in a tablet. Something that should look pretty epic thanks to the 1280×800 IPS display which is backed up by Nvidia Prism 2 display processing, which modulates the display backlight and per-pixel colour values to extend battery life up to 40%

Nvidia Chimera computational photography for Always-On HDR:

  • World’s first HDR camera in a tablet: Capture exactly what your eye sees
  • Tap-to-Track: Choose any object to track so it’s in focus when you’re ready to take the shot
  • Slow-motion: Gear down the action for drama and effect

Nvidia PureAudio for the deepest, richest tablet audio:

  • Front facing stereo speakers with a bass reflex port for true stereo sound
  • Extended frequency response 380-12 kHz – compared to typical 800-5 kHz range
  • Premium Tegra 4 audio processing for louder, cleaner, richer sound

Incredible Value:

  • The fastest, loudest, most fun tablet you can find – at an affordable price
  • Compose and create on the fly using the incredibly intuitive Nvidia DirectStylus and bundled apps
  • Astounding front-facing Nvidia PureAudio stereo sound with unique bass reflex port
  • 5 MegaPixel Always-On HDR camera
  • World’s first Always-On HDR tablet, capturing scenes exactly as your eye sees them
  • World’s first Tap-to-Track tablet, allowing automatic tracking, focus, and exposure of the object
  • VGA front camera for video chat
  • World-class Nvidia engineering (mechanical design, software, electrical, quality, over-the-air updates)
  • 7-inch (17.8 cm) 1280×800 IPS display
  • Compatibility with Built for NVIDIA Tegra wireless game controllers means console-quality gaming is available through the tablet
  • Over-the-air (OTA) update support to keep your Tegra NOTE 7 up to date

Additional Specs:

  • 16GB storage + MicroSD card slot
  • Wi-Fi 802.11n
  • 4100 mAh battery for up to 10 hours HD video playback
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • GPS, 9-axis motion with gyro, accelerometer, compass
  • Micro HDMI to connect to HDTV
  • Ambient Light sensor for backlight control
  • USB 2.0
  • 1GB RAM

I look forward to seeing more of this tablet in the coming weeks as I must admit I have a soft spot for new hardware that claims to be the fastest around.

Thank you EVGA for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of EVGA.

New Nvidia Tegra Tablet To Be 4G LTE Compatible And Roll Out With Android 4.4 KitKat

Apparently the Nvidia Tegra Note will receive a hardware refresh which will include a 4G LTE capability, having the new 4G enabled tablets available from Nvidia partners starting from Q2 2014 at an estimated price tag of $299.

While Nvidia isn’t selling the tablets themselves, they will ship to partners ready for branding and sale handling. There have been a few Tegra Note tablest on the market up until now, however none branded with major manufacturers. Even so, Nvidia expects to extned its Tegra Note tablets availability to Western Europe, Brazil, and Ukraine over the next few months.

EVGA is said to ffer the Tegra Note in North America and Western Europe, Dixons in the UK, Gigabyte in Western Europe, Korea, and China, Gazer in Ukraine, Zotac in Japan and Korea, Xolo in India, Gradiente in Brazil, and Homecare in China too.

The Nvidia Tegra Note tablet specs are basically the same aside from the new 4G capability added, having a 7-inch 1,280×800 IPS touchscreen, a quad-core Tegra 4 processor, a 5 MP rear camera, a VGA front camera, 16 GB of internal storage, microSD card support, and Wi-Fi. Also, the 4G LTE Tegra Note will launch with the Android 4.4 KitKat pre-installed, having a KitKat update ready for current Tegra Tablet owners since Nvidia is handling the updates itself.

Thank you Unwiredview for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Unwiredview

Nvidia Tegra 4i (T4i) Devices Expected From Early Q2 or Late Q1

Nvidia’s Tegra 4i SoCs should start to arrive from late Q1 or early Q2 according to Fudzilla’s sources. This means we should see Tegra 4i devices from late March or early April. Nvidia’s Tegra 4i will be competing in the mainstream LTE-capable market and is based on a slightly cut-down version of Tegra 4. Aside from Qualcomm’s SoCs other offerings in the mainstream LTE market are limited; MediaTek’s parts are still in development and a few months away. Nvidia is hoping Tegra 4i will be able to boost their revenues for 2014 but Tegra 4i has already been accused of being too late to the party, most critics seem to think the launch will pass by unnoticed.

Nvidia’s Tegra K1 on the other hand looks to be more promising. Tegra K1 is also expected to start shipping in devices at some stage during Q2 of this year. Nvidia is going to need Tegra 4i and Tegra K1 to do well because Tegra revenue is down 37% mainly due to the fact Nvidia were so late to the party with Tegra 4.

Image courtesy of Nvidia

 

HP Launches Two New Tegra 4 Tablets

The Nvidia Tegra 4 processor is kinda rare on the market compared to the widely spread Tegra 3. Things are likely to change in the future it seems, as HP has already launched two new tablets featuring the Tegra 4 processor, and quite covertly too, since there has not been any word on the tablets before their release.

One of the tablets is the HP’s Slate7 Extreme, selling for $199.99. It features the Tegra 4 with a 7-inch 1280×800 display, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, 16GB of eMMC storage, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, HDMI out, a 5-megapixel back cameras and a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera. The device comes with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, is rated for 10.5 hours of battery life having a 4100 mAh lithium polymer battery, and features an integrated stylus.

For those who want a bigger tablet, the HP Slate8 Pro is here and has a $329.99 price tag. Having a 8″ 1600×1200 display, the Slate8 Pro also has a more squared-off design, a white back and bezel, and a larger battery that’s rated for 11.5 hours of run time and comes stock with the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Other than that, though, the device’s specs resemble those of the Slate7 Extreme.

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of HP

Nvidia Release Major Linux Update, Preparing For SteamOS Arrival

The relationship between Nvidia and Linux has come a long way since Linux founder Linus Torvald famously said “So Nvidia, F**k you” back in mid 2012. Linus Torvald’s response was due to the fact that Nvidia was unwilling to work properly with the Linux community despite it becoming more dependent on it. Since that statement Nvidia has become even more dependent on the Linux community – pushing ahead with Tegra for Linux-powered Android devices (such as Nvidia’s Shield and Tegra Note) and partnering up with Valve to launch the Linux-based SteamOS. Whether Nvidia has successfully engaged with the Linux community is another matter for discussion but what they have done is release a brand new driver package for Linux based operating systems ahead of the SteamOS launch.

Nvidia’s 331.20 drivers include a wide variety of bug fixes and new features for Linux based operating systems. The new package supports Linux 32 bit, Linux 64 bit, FreeBSD, Solaris and ARM operating systems. There is added support for Nvidia OpenGL based Framebuffer Capture (NvFBCOpenGL) too. You can check out the full change log right here and if you’re interested in getting the latest Nvidia Linux drivers for your Linux distribution then see here for the appropriate drivers.

Image courtesy of Nvidia

Xiaomi Mi3 Has Sold Out In Under 90 Seconds

One of China’s largest and most popular phone makers, Xiaomi, have announced today that their new flagship Smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi3, was sold out in under 90 seconds. The record time is actually 1 minute and 26 seconds, or 86 seconds, to be exact. In case you’re wondering as to how many Mi3s were sold within the same period, the number is a mind-boggling 100,000. Perhaps this is why Chinese phone makers price their flagship products at relatively affordable prices, somewhere around the $300-$400 mark, since it attracts more customers and ultimately leads to more sales, and more profit in the process. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

“100,000 Xiaomi MI3s are sold out in one minute and twenty-six seconds,and 3000 MITVs are sold out in one minute and fifty-eight seconds.” Xiaomi tweeted.

The device’s specification, for those of you haven’t heard of the Xiaomi Mi3 up until now, are the following:

  • 5-inch (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS display with 441 PPI resolution with Corning Gorilla glass protection
  •  1.8 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor / 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 (MSM 8974AB) processor
  • Dimensions – 114mm×72mm×8.1mm, weight: 145g
  • MIUI V5 on top of Android
  • 13MP rear camera with LED Flash, Sony Exmor BSI sensor,  f/2.2 aperture, 1080p full HD video recording
  • 2MP front-facing camera with BSI sensor,  f/2.2 aperture, 1080p full HD video recording
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16 / 64 GB internal memory
  • 3G, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4/5 GHz),   WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and NFC
  • 3050mAh battery

The 16 GB version of the Xiaomi Mi3 commands a price of 1999 Yuan (roughly $330), whereas the 64 GB version costs 2499 Yuan (just $410). I bet that most people would like to have the Xiaomi Mi3 available in their country as well.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of NextPowerUp.

Nvidia’s 64-bit Tegra 6 To Power The First 64-bit Android Devices

Thanks to a report from ExtremeTech, NVIDIA may have bumped up their release roadmap by sucking Tegra 6 aka “Parker” from 2015. Instead, Parker will see the light of day in late 2014 itself, and will also be the first 64-bit NVIDIA chipset. The report is based on new findings which indicate NVIDIA licensed and began working on ARMv8 64-bit architecture back in late 2010/early 2011 itself. 64-bit “Denver” cores should be ready for sampling in early 2014 itself.

No one can deny that Tegra 4 is a much more competitive chip than the Tegra 3 was last year, but Qualcomm’s custom Krait cores and quick design iteration have allowed it to nearly take over the Android device ecosystem. There are only a handful of devices announced with Tegra 4 chips, and one of them is Nvidia’s own Shield console. Meanwhile Snapdragon 600 and 800 power almost every high-end smartphone and tablet from 2013.

Over the last few years, Nvidia has no doubt poured many millions of dollars into Project Denver and the Parker SoC. Qualcomm is surely working toward a 64-bit chip down the road, but the company has been tight-lipped about future plans. The last thing Nvidia wants is for the market leader to beat it to ARMv8 with 64-bit. Whether or not 64-bit has real utility on mobile devices running 32-bit software, getting this right could set up Tegra for undeniable success, a distinction that has so far eluded it.

Thank you NextPowerUp and ExtremeTech for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of ExtremeTech.

ASUS To Make Google Nexus 10 – 2013 Edition

According to sources from @evleaks, ASUS is taking the step in making the new Google Nexus 10 Edition. If it turns out to be true, ASUS would become the maker to both the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets for Google, and that’s a good thing. Considering the amazing device that the new Nexus 7 2013 is, we are looking forward to seeing what ASUS has done with the new Nexus 10. One thing is guaranteed, and that is an appreciable build quality, much better than Samsung’s plastic toy, the Nexus original 10.

This way Google will secure the series of its own Android devices, with the Nexus 7 – 2013 Edition – slate, already out, the Nexus 5 handset fast approaching, and now the last piece of the puzzle shown in preparation.

The Google Nexus 10 already leaked out once in an UK electronics retailer inventory with a pricing of $399 ( £349 ) or the original Nexus 10 pricing. Asus also makes Google’s 7″ Nexus tablet, and this year surprised us very pleasantly with a Full HD screen resolution at a rock bottom price, so we can only imagine what it would do with 10-inch, but we don’t know exactly what it will be based on quite yet.

The chances are great that the new Nexus 10 will be based off the Transformer Pad Infinity TF701T, which has a brilliant 2560×1600 pixels display making it only the third 300ppi Android 10-inches, and its brilliant IGZO technology will allow up to 13 hours of battery life on a charge, as claimed by Asus. The slate is powered by a quad-core Tegra 4 chipset, has 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, cameras with zero shutter lag and HDR abilities. Last but not least, it measures only 263 x 180.8 x 8.9mm and just 585g of weight, despite the metallic chassis, though we don’t know if the exact same design will be kept by Google.

The expected pricing of the new Nexus 10 2013 is around $399 ( £246 ) for the base model, but no word on a launch date as of yet, but it could happen before the end of this year.

Thank you NextPowerUp and PhoneArena for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of NextPowerUp.

ZTE Geek Tegra 4 Smartphone Unveiled In China

GizChina report that the Chinese smartphone vendor ZTE have unveiled their latest smartphone powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 4 – the ZTE Geek. The ZTE Geek features a quad core 1.8GHz Tegra 4 chipset design paired up with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory. The display measures in at a sizeable 5 inches with a 1920 x 1080 full HD resolution. There’s a 13MP rear camera and 2MP front camera as well as WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and Glonass to top off connectivity. A 2300 mAh battery powers the whole device. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is the operating system of choice.

Sadly for eager onlookers from outside of China you currently cannot get this handset. The ZTE Geek has only been launched in China with support for the TD-SCDMA 3G network of China mobile. That said ZTE do have a tradition of bring quite a lot of their handsets to the European and North American markets so the ZTE Geek could be released there in the near future.

Image courtesy of GizChina

HP Announce Pair Of Tegra 4 Based Tablets

Nvidia’s blog reports that HP have just unveiled a pair of tablets based on their new quad core Tegra 4 SoC. The two new models are the Slate 7 Extreme (above) and the Slate 8 Pro (below). The Slate 7 Extreme is based on the Tegra 4 SoC with a 1280 x 800 display of 7 inches. This tablet comes with a stylus in the box but it isn’t a special digitiser or anything that fancy. This tablet will run Android but the version isn’t specified.The next tablet is the Slate 8 Pro which is a larger 7.98 inch device with a 1600 x 1200 resolution display. This is again powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 4 SoC and uses a 4:3 aspect ratio. The Slate 8 Pro has an 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera as well as an SD card slot and HDMI out port. This tablet also runs Android of an unknown version.

Neither tablets have pricing or availability revealed. If you were also wondering why the specifications are a bit hit and miss it is also because they weren’t fully disclosed either. We will bring you more details when they arrive.

Images courtesy of HP/Nvidia

Nvidia Reveal Their First Tablet – The Tegra Note

Nvidia has revealed its first ever reference tablet platform – the Tegra Note. The Tegra Note is going to be Nvidia’s reference platform to shift the new Tegra 4 SoC.  Nvidia’s Tegra Note is manufactured by Nvidia but will be sold and marketed by Nvidia’s partners.

The Tegra Note uses a 7 inch 1280 x 800 display with a quad core Cortex A15 CPU and 72 core GeForce GPU moulded together to form Tegra 4. The tablet has 16GB of internal storage and a microSD card supporting an additional 32GB. RAM was not disclosed but it is speculated to be 1GB and 2GB by various sources so it could really be either. In terms of cameras there is a rear facing 5MP camera and a front facing VGA webcam. The Tegra Note has a stylus as well as support for the latest version of Android. Nvidia claims the updates for the Tegra Note will be delivered over the air. The Tegra Note has a microHDMI out port for streaming to an TV and Nvidia claim up to 10 hours of HD playback is possible on its battery.

Other features can be seen below, more details can be seen at the Nvidia site.

  • Ultra-fast performance — Powered by Tegra 4 with a 72-core GeForce GPU and quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU with a fifth battery-saver core, making Tegra Note the world’s fastest 7-inch tablet.
  • Superb stylus — NVIDIA DirectStylus technology transforms a normal stylus into an incredibly responsive experience with finer point and broader stroke control. It also comes bundled with apps for convenient, stroke-based note taking.
  • Exceptional sound — NVIDIA PureAudio technology offers rich, deep audio — including the widest frequency range in a tablet — through front-facing stereo speakers with a bass-reflex port.
  • Groundbreaking camera — The camera uses Tegra 4’s processing power and Chimera computational photography architecture to deliver stunning new features. Tegra Note also brings SmugMug’s Camera Awesome app — one of the top camera apps on iOS — to Android. Camera Awesome delivers exclusive Tegra 4 features like tap-to-track and 100 fps video with slow-motion playback.
  • TegraZone gaming — Delivering unmatched gaming, NVIDIA TegraZone provides easy access to Tegra-optimized games with visual effects that aren’t available on other tablets. Tegra Note also supports a variety of game controllers for console-class gaming.
  • Great battery life — 10-plus hours of HD video playback.
  • Accessories galore — An intelligent slide cover flips and bends to support and cover the tablet. It also lets the tablet be set up in three distinct positions using built-in magnets for added flexibility. The DirectStylus Pro Pack enables a variety of writing styles with interchangeable tips. And Bluetooth capabilities turn the tablet into a game controller.

Image courtesy of Nvidia

Microsoft Second Generation Surface RT Will Have 1080p Screen

New reports about Microsoft’s second generation Surface RT from Neowin have revealed new details about the devices specifications. Apparently the second generation Surface RT will simply be called Surface 2 and should feature Nvidia’s Tegra 4 SoC.

Additionally the tablet will use a 1920 x 1080 display, a two position kickstand and 4GB of RAM. Microsoft is expected to unveil the Surface 2 at a press event in New York on September 23rd. The Surface 2 should ship with Windows 8.1 RT and will be available to buy in late October when Windows 8.1 launches. Availability should be immediate with the Windows 8.1 OS launch if Microsoft manages to get their timing right. Launch pricing will be similar to the first generation Surface RT’s launch pricing.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

ASUS Reveal 2560 x 1600 Transformer Pad TF701T Android Tablet

ASUS have just unveiled their latest tablet creation – the Transformer Pad TF701T. The TF701T is an Android tablet with a 10.1 inch display. This display boasts a huge 2560 x 1600 resolution with an IPS panel type. The whole system is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 4 chip which uses a quad core processor a 72-core GeForce GPU. The Transformer Pad TF701T is compatible with the Miracast WiFi video streaming standard so can be used in conjunction with HDTVs for HD streaming without cables. With a wired connection the TF701T can drive up to a 4K Ultra HD display.

In addition to the tablet itself there is also a mobile dock with full sized keyboard and large multi-touch trackpad. The ASUS Transformer Pad is being designed for productivity and comes pre-installed with the Microsoft-Office compatible Polaris Office Suite. The dock also adds a USB 3.0 port, has a battery built in to increase battery life from 13 to 17 hours and has an SDXC slot that compliments the tablets microSDXC slot so you can add even more storage.

Image courtesy of ASUS

Nvidia Tegra Note 7 Inch Tablet Spotted

We’ve known that Nvidia are working on their own tablets for quite a while now but now there is some concrete evidence of it. Nvidia’s Tegra Note 7 tablet has been spotted over at China Diy. The tablet uses a 7 inch 1280 by 736 resolution display and runs a quad core 1.8GHz Tegra 4 processor. There is Android 4.2.2 support right out of the box and unannounced tablet is expected to be sold as an in-house Nvidia branded product.In terms of connectivity there is a micro USB port, micro-HDMI port and microSD card slot. The device also has a stylus but it isn’t clear if it is a branded stylus like a WACOM for example. More details about Nvidia’s Tegra Note 7 tablet are expected to be unveiled at the IFA 2013 trade fair this week. Nvidia will apparently make the device official then.

Check out more high resolution pictures of Nvidia’s Tegra Note 7 right here.

Images courtesy of China DIY

Nvidia Developing Tegra 5 Powered Tablet and 2nd Generation Surface

Nvidia are apparently working on their own tablet and a second generation Microsoft Surface tablet according to TechSpot. Nvidia will apparently release these tablets from next year and at least one of them will be powered by Nvidia’s high end Tegra 5 System on Chip codenamed Logan.

Nvidia’s Tegra 5 will be a mobile processor based on Nvidia’s Kepler architecture. While it will hardly be on the same level as Nvidia’s GTX 600 and 700 series it will still be a huge step forward compared to what we’ve seen in the tablet market thus far.

Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has already confirmed that they are working on the second generation Surface tablet but as far as an Nvidia branded tablet goes details are a little more sketchy. The self-branded tablet from Nvidia would follow a similar line of development to the Shield Android gaming console, which Nvidia also developed on their own. Speculation thus far, from Tabtech.de, points to the potential for a “Tegra Note Premium” 7 inch tablet using a 1280 by 800 resolution display and a Tegra 4 processor running Android 4.2.2. The device would probably ship to customers with a more advanced version of Android.

Image courtesy of TechSpot

Nvidia’s Shield Gets Lower $299 Price Tag, June 27th Release Date

About a month ago we brought you information that Nvidia’s Project Shield was going on pre-order for $349 with an “end of June” shipping date. Now we are starting to reach the end of June and we’ve managed to get a few more details about Project Shield from Nvidia’s blog.

Nvidia’s Tegra 4 powered Project Shield will now have a reduced price tag of $299, down from $349, and it will be released on June 27th. According to Nvidia’s announcement, people who have pre-ordered at the higher price will be refunded the $50 difference between what they paid and the revised price.

For those who are unaware of Project Shield, or the Nvidia Shield, it is Nvidia’s attempt at creating a handheld portable gaming console. It is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 4 CPU, has a 1280 by 720 display, has 16GB of internal storage, mini-HDMI, micro-USB 2.0, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, a microSD card slot for storage expansion, 802.11n Wi-Fi, integrated speakers, and a headphone jack. With mini-HDMI you can output to a HD TV with a resolution up to 3200 by 2000.

Image courtesy of Nvidia

Nvidia Will License Its GPUs to Mobile Market

Nvidia’s GPU and ARM combo the Tegra 4

Nvidia’s Tegra SoCs are right up there with the best performing chips in the mobile market but despite this Nvidia is still dominated by Qualcomm and Samsung at the highest end part of the market. Furthermore the underlying CPU and GPU architectures which Nvidia uses to create its Tegra series is actually licensed from ARM, Imagination Technologies and others.

However, this looks set to change as Nvidia now reportedly wants to begin licensing its GPU intellectual property to the mobile market, in the same way ARM and Imagination Technologies do. Essentially Nvidia wants to become a big GPU vendor in the mobile market and it thinks it can do this by licensing its Kepler Architecture to the mobile market, instead of trying to sell people the GPUs directly. This gives buyers of Nvidia’s technology a significant amount more flexibility than they would of had previously and makes it a cheaper solution for them encouraging them to make more widespread use of it.

With DX11, OpenGL 4.3 and GPGPU capabilities, plus a very high level of power efficiency, Nvidia’s Kepler stands a very good competitive chance in the mobile market if Nvidia can present it to potential buyers in the right way.

Nvidia spokesperson David Shannon commented in a blog post that:

 “our next step is to license our GPU cores and visual computing patent portfolio to device manufacturers to serve the needs of a large piece of the market… We’ll start by licensing the GPU core based on the NVIDIA Kepler architecture, the world’s most advanced, most efficient GPU. Its DX11, OpenGL 4.3, and GPGPU capabilities, along with vastly superior performance and efficiency, create a new class of licensable GPU cores. Through our efforts designing Tegra into mobile devices, we’ve gained valuable experience designing for the smallest power envelopes. As a result, Kepler can operate in a half-watt power envelope, making it scalable from smartphones to supercomputers.”

Image courtesy of Nvidia

Nvidia Tegra 4i Smartphone Emerges

Nvidia’s Tegra 4 SoC is still pretty new but according to a phone detailed by AnandTech Tegra 4i chipset based phones will be making a commercial appearance pretty soon. The prototype phone uses the Tegra 4i SoC, which is a variant of Tegra 4 designed for smartphones, and is featured inside a “yet to be branded” smartphone.

This smartphone runs a 4.8″ 720p display whith a 13 megapixel rear camera. Furthermore it is capable of running Android 4.2.1 and has LTE and HSPA+ connectivity. It measures in at just 7.9mm thick and has 1GB of LPDDR2 RAM. It will be available in 8, 16 and 32GB variants with pricing between $300 and $400 which is quite reasonable given the expected performance of Tegra 4. It will also be reportedly available for as low as $200 when subsidized by a network carrier.

According to AnandTech other Tegra 4 devices are being developed and these will have even lower prices, but probably with fewer features than this phone. These should be expected in the Q1 of 2014 time frame  with a few carriers opting to release models before than in Q4 of 2013.

Have you got an Nvidia Tegra powered phone? What are your thoughts on a Tegra 4i smartphone?

Image courtesy of AnandTech

Nvidia Project Shield Coming This Augusts

A report on FudZilla states that Rob Csongor has confirmed that the Nvidia Project Shield gaming device will be available very soon, speaking at the Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference.

“This is now being preordered and availability of this device is in August,” Said Mr Csongor.

The new hardware is already available for pre-order and since it packs the Tegra 4 hardware, which you can expect that to launch some time in July.

It was expected that Project Shield would launch along side the Tegra 4 launch some time in June, but I guess the extra time will allow Nvidia to work on marketing the device a little more, as well as giving more time for them to manufacturer the device.

It’s only a one month delay on the estimates and this does give Nvidia extra time to make announcements and next weeks Computex and hopefully the eTeknix team will be around to catch a few of them from Nvidia and we’ll be sure to keep you up to date.

US and Canada are going to be the first to get this new hardware, followed by Europe and then filling in the global market gaps after that, but with it’s unique approach and $349 price tag it’s really hard to say how how popular (if at all) the new gaming device will be for Nvidia.

Nvidia Shield Goes On Pre-Order For $349, Ships End Of June

Nvidia’s Shield has captured the imagination of gamers all over the world and is a very unique little proposition which we detailed nearly 5 months ago. Now it is finally arriving on pre-order for users that want to get their hands on it. We already saw a sneak peak at the kind of performance Tegra 4 can offer, and Tegra 4 is at the heart of the Shield so this is a good indicator of performance.

Recently Nvidia have put the Shield up on pre-order for a price of $349.00. This was announce slightly earlier than expected on May 17th despite the fact Nvidia said they would open up pre-orders on May 20th. For $349 customers who pre-order can secure the all-in-one Android gaming console at Gamestop, Newegg, Canada Computer, or the Nvidia site as shown above.

“[Nvidia’s Shield] sports a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen with 1280×720 resolution, NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 CPU which supports a maximum resolution of 3200 x 2000 pixels so games can be played at full HD on a TV. Other specs include 16GB of storage, mini-HDMI, micro-USB 2.0, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, a microSD card slot for storage expansion, 802.11n Wi-Fi, integrated speakers, and a headphone jack.” Source: TweakTown

Included with the shield is two games, Expendable: Rearmed and Sonic 4 Episode II THD. In addition you can get carrying cases for $39.99 and custom lids for $19.99. There is a limit of four per person if you were feeling generous enough to buy more than one. In addition it should be noted that the PC Streaming feature that is strongly associated with the “GeForce Experience” will only be a beta feature at launch. Nvidia says Shield pre-orders will ship by the end of June 2013.

What are your thoughts on the price of $349 for Nvidia’s Shield? You can check out more details or pre-order one from the Nvidia store page here.

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Nvidia’s Tegra 4 Gets Benchmarked

Nvidia’s Tegra 4 system on chip (SoC) has yet to find its way into any device that is currently on sale for consumers to purchase. Despite this, performance details about the Nvidia Tegra 4 have managed to emerge thanks to Project Shield developers and testers giving up some information.

A developer managed to run the AnTuTu benchmark on his Nvidia Project Shield device returning a score of 32150 with Nvidia’s Tegra 4 at 1.9GHz across all four cores running Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean. This compares quite favourably to current mobile chips such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 on the Samsung Galaxy S4 which score 23607 and the Galaxy S4 Exynos 5 variant which scores 28018 at 1.6GHz with a 1.8GHz variant of the Exynos 5 being made available in Korea that is rumoured to push 30000 and upwards.

However, on Project Shield Nvidia’s Tegra 4 is only powering a 720p display whereas the Samsung Galaxy S4 is powering a full HD 1080p display. In effect if Nvidia’s Tegra 4 were to run the same test at 1080p it would probably lose a fair bit of ground. Although that said the AnTuTu benchmark isn’t a specific GPU test so we cannot tell how powerful the CPU and GPU component of the Tegra 4 is, this only measures a combination. It is quite possible, given this is Nvidia we are talking about, that the GPU component will be significantly more powerful than any of the competition.

It is also worth mentioning that Nvidia did claim the final product will be in the 36K region so there could be improvements yet to come. These are only pre-production engineering samples that are being tested, the final thing may get a lot of tweaking and tuning.

Or to totally kill it all for you, this could just be one elaborate hoax. We have seen a tendency in recent times to fake benchmarks so I guess, as always, you should take this with a pinch of salt.

What are your thoughts on the Nvidia Tegra 4 AnTuTu score?

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Nvidia Tegra 5 To Be More Powerful Than Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

Nvidia’s Senior Vice President of Content and Technology has been offering some potent statements to the media recently. Tony Tamasi has stated that Nvidia’s next generation Mobile Processor, Tegra 5, will outperform the current generation of consoles, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

“The PS3 and Xbox 360 are barely more powerful than mobile devices… The next click of mobile phones will outperform”

On the face of things it seems like a very bold statement and totally unrealistic, but if we look at the numbers it actually does look plausible.

Nvidia’s Tegra 2 had 4.8 GFLOPS, Nvidia’s Tegra 3 had 12 GFLOPS and Nvidia’s current generation Tegra 4 has 80 GFLOPS. Current generation consoles, the PS3 and Xbox 360, both boast about 200 GFLOPS so Nvidia would have to more than double the next generation to achieve this. However, given Tegra 4 was just under 7 times more powerful than Tegra 3, seeing the 2.5 times rise in Tegra 5 over Tegra 4 doesn’t look that unrealistic at all. To put all these GFLOPS figures into context, Nvidia’s GTX Titan produces 4500 GFLOPS while the PlayStation 4 is expected to produce 1800 GLOPS.

Even though we will see mobile technology using graphics hardware of this performance level in the not so distant future, it is unlikely they will ever grace mobile phones any time soon due to the power consumption figures. Even though Tegra 5 will be very modest in terms of power consumption it will still be too much for most mobile phone batteries to handle so will be almost exclusively reserved for tablets and other larger mobile devices.

Nvidia’s Project Shield, for example, is expected to be powered by Tegra 5.

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Intel Launches Clover Trail+ Platform and Mentions the Next-Gen Merrifield Platform

Intel brought the 22nm architecture to the desktop in the form of “Ivy Bridge” back on April the 29th 2012. The transition to 22nm represented a large step forward in power efficiency and a modest step forward in clock-per-clock performance. Now Intel is promising that this transition will hit their Atom processors by the end of this year and this is particularly exciting news for mobile and tablet users. Intel Atom processors are designed from the ground up with power consumption in mind, they have to be incredibly power efficient for the sake of battery life and that often means Intel have to reduce clock speeds to get the right balance. However, the introduction of 22nm means that Intel can now hit these same power envelopes with much more performance. As well as being able to offer lower-powered options to really squeeze the absolute maximum battery life out of these 22nm tri-gate Atom System-on-Chips (SoCs).

However, as we wait for these new 22nm Atom SoCs to be released, Intel has just announced three new SoCs based the 32nm Clover Trail+ Atom micro-architecture at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Spain. The Intel Atom Z2580, Z2560 and Z2520 are the three new SoCs to hit the market.

Intel are claiming double the compute performance and three times the graphical capabilities over the previous generation of mobile Atom processors – all while maintaining “competitive low power”. New features include support for 16 Megapixel (MP)  image sensors, burst mode capabilities capturing 8MP images at 15 frames per second (FPS), hardware acceleration for 1080p video encoding and decoding at 30 FPS and enhanced High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities – something Intel needed to include because Nvidia’s Tegra 4 is also promising this. However, integrated LTE support didn’t materialise although Intel does offer the 4G capable XMM 7160 modem. As an extra Intel is also providing real-time facial recognition technology as part of the Clover Trail+ platform.

Lenovo’s IdeaPhone K900 will be the first phone to boast Intel’s flagship Z2580 Atom SoC on its 5.5″ high resolution display. More products using these SoCs have been promised by ASUS and ZTE, while Intel claims Android tablets will be powered by these in the not-so-distant future.

The main story from the even though is Intel’s Merrfield 22nm Atom SoCs which Intel will start producing this year. If ARM progress is anything to go by, Intel are really going to need the lowered power and improved performance that the 22nm process has to offer. Add to that the fact Intel is already having a hard time encouraging App and OS developers to opt for x86 instruction set support – the pathway to mobile success for Intel looks long and obstacle filled.

Production begins in late 2013 meaning finished products will not arrive until Q2 of 2014. By then Nvidia’s Tegra 4 and Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa (eight core) SoCs will already be established in the market. Best of luck Intel – you’re going to need it.

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