After first announcing its Android-powered Project SHIELD gaming handheld back in January, NVIDIA today officially announced when regular folks like you and I will actually be able to buy a unit. Now know simply as "SHIELD," the device will ship in June for $349 from retailers such as Newegg, GameStop and MicroCenter. NVIDIA will begin accepting pre-orders for SHIELD on its website starting May 20.
NVIDIA's SHIELD handheld gaming system runs Android Jelly Bean and, unsurprisingly, is powered by a quad-core Tegra 4 processor. The multi-touch display measures 5 inches in size and has a 720p resolution, and the screen is capable of flipping open a full 180 degrees. Rounding out SHIELD's spec list is 16GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot, mini-HDMI output, 802.11n 2X@ MiMO WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, micro-USB and 2GB RAM. NVIDIA has also included dual analog sticks, a full-size D-Pad, triggers, bumpers and A, B, X and Y buttons, giving users plenty of buttons to mash during intense gaming sessions.
Since SHIELD is powered by Android, it's got access to the Google Play Store so that users can download games, movies, music and other content. Users can also download games using Steam and the NVIDIA TegraZone. NVIDIA is also packing in a feature (which it says will launch in a beta form) that will allow users with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU-powered computer to access their PC using SHIELD.
While some folks may argue that dedicated gaming devices are a dying breed, the NVIDIA SHIELD looks like a pretty spiffy piece of hardware that will appeal to people that still see a need for gaming-centric products. The SHIELD's $350 price tag puts it above other handhelds like the PS Vita and 3DS, but with access to content from Google Play, TegraZone and Steam, that higher price could be worth it to some. Thankfully, it won't be long before we're able to get the SHIELD's analog sticks under our thumbs and give the unit a go for ourselves. To help pass the time until then, we've got a couple of videos showing SHIELD in action embedded below. Now that its launch and pricing details are set in stone, will you be picking up a SHIELD?