My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Nvidia Shield Tablet is a Tablet for all seasons needing Content

Friday, August 1, 2014

How Nvidia Shield Tablet is a Tablet for all seasons needing Content

Nvidia is back in the gaming Arena with the Nvidia Shield Tablet as reported in “Nvidia Shield Tablet aims to be the ultimate 8-inch Android Gaming Tablet: $299, available July 29 (Hands on)”, published July 22, 2014 6:00 AM PDT, CNET News.

Like its predecessor the Nvidia Shield Handheld, which made its debut at CES (Computer Electronics Show) 2013 as I’d reported in my blog article entitled “Google Android powers Boxer8's Ouya, PlayJam's GameStick and Nvidia's Project Shield - Stand Up Guys are making Open Source and Open Architecture a $ellebrity”, this is yet another product from the company that’s usually associated with making Processors.

The 8” Nvidia Shield Tablet, which appears to be based on the Tegra Note 7, their Tablet that they'd released back in November 2013, was launched on Tuesday July 29th 2014 in Canada and USA for US$299. Europeans will be next on Thursday August 14th 2014 to get their hands on this Tablet that's clearly made for gaming for £240. Pre-Orders got off to a rousing start back on Tuesday July 22nd 2014.

Nvidia Shield Tablet – A Tablet for All Seasons with Cover, Game Controller and Stylus

The Google Android Tablet is 0.36-inch thick and weighing in at 13.7 ounces, this 8” Tablet is packing a Tegra K1 Processor. This is a far more powerful Processor than the Tegra 4 and packs a 2.2 GHz quad-core A15 Processor with a 192-core Kepler GPU plus and 2GB of RAM. It's comes in various sizes of Onboard Storage:

1.      16GB for US$299
2.      32GB for US$399

That powerful Processor comes with an equally impressive Screen. The Shield Tablet is packing a 1,900x1,200 8.0-inch IPS LCD display and is 4K video-output ready. The built in MicroSD card supports 128GB of extra storage, a Micro-USB port and a Mini HDMI 1.4 port. It’s also packing a pair of 5-megapixel front and rear cameras which is a very nice combo as this means it’ll be great for streaming high quality videos.

The standard Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS, and a 9-axis accelerometer with compass, gyro and g-sensor are included. Rounding out the solid Gaming look is its matte finish and stereo speakers at the front that says “Gamer” without looking too geeky or gimmicky.

The Nvidia Shield Tablet comes SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) unlocked and is compatible with 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution), 3G, 3G, GSM (Global System Mobile), EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) from Telecom Provider AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. This is good for us Internationals, especially Jamaicans, as that means that it'll work on Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider Digicel GSM 3G Networks.

Finally the accessories are equally cool. The 8" Nvidia Shield Tablet has a $39/£25 Shield Tablet Cover and the $60/£50 Shield Game Controller that are not a part of the package but sold separately. At least there is a free Stylus, which slots quite handily into the Tablets housing.

This is interesting; the Stylus is slowly making a comeback, as truth be told, albeit it's easy to lose, it's a necessary part of using any Tablet, most of which tend to be grease and fingerprint magnets as pointed out in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to make a Stylus for your Apple iPad or Capacitive-Touch Device”.

Nvidia Shield Tablet - Nvidia Console Mode, Gamestream, Grid Cloud-Gaming Service and ShadowPlay

The Nvidia Shield Tablet has a lot in common with the Kickstarter funded Boxer8's Ouya and the PlayJam's GameStick as described in my blog article entitled “Google Android powers Boxer8's Ouya, PlayJam's GameStick and Nvidia's Project Shield - Stand Up Guys are making Open Source and Open Architecture a $ellebrity” in that it's designed to play Google Play Apps or Android Games as well as Games designed specifically for the device.

There are around 180 Shield Games, 11 made specifically to take advantage of the Tegra K1 Processor which is available from Nvidia's custom App Store, Shield Hub. Shield Hub also allows you to project the Tablet to a TV via a HDMI Port connection on your TV in a mode called Nvidia Console Mode. This allows you to not only play games on a big Screen using your Bluetooth connected Shield Controller but also Stream Games and Video to your Television Set.

Nvidia is also bringing back Streaming services that were on the original on the Nvidia Shield called Nvidia Gamestream. This is a service that supports streaming of up to 180 1080p Games. Nvidia's also offering Grid Cloud-Gaming Service that streams some 16 Games for free along with the possibility of Streaming Netflix, most likely using the Nvidia Console Mode, as Netflix videos look great on a Big Screen.

Nvidia ShadowPlay is also another new software tool for capturing in-game footage. This complements the Tablets ability to act as a Twitch Streaming Portal, for which it already has the app built in and the Headphone, Microphone and Cameras ready to stream your Video Gaming Exploits to a receptive audience.

Nvidia Shield Tablet vs Amazon Fire TV – Tablet for Video Games needs Content

So is this a winner against the 2-in-1US$99 Streaming Box  and the US$40 Game Controller, the Amazon Fire TV which is now sold out as declared in my blog article entitled “Amazon Fire TV is a bonafide hit and is out-of-stock according to Amazon - The Bamboo powered smartphone running Amazon apps cometh”?

On price only, possibly not! At US$99 for the Amazon Fire TV compared to US$299 for the Nvidia Shield Tablet, if you’re a loyal Amazon Prime user, this is a no-brainer.

Also there’s the question of long-term support, being as this is really a second experiment with a different form-factor for a Gaming Device as noted in “Nvidia's Shield Tablet: Gaming must-have or also-ran”, published July 22, 2014 6:00 AM PDT by Shara Tibken and Ben Fox Rubin, CNET News.

This suggests that Nvidia is giving up on the Nvidia Shield and trying to ride the trend of sub-10” Tablets such as the Apple iPad Mini acting as Gaming Consoles as I’d predicted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Apple iPad Air’s the World Thinnest Tablet and Apple iPad Mini 2’s a 3DS and Vita killer”.

Long term, it really comes down to Great Games and compelling Content. Its market appears to be handheld Gamers who what to have the power of a Console in their hands. The Hardware delivers; now Nvidia has to boost the Content in terms of Games and Video Streaming to attract non-Gamers to invest in yet another Console.

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