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At a time when dedicated handheld gaming devices are struggling to remain relevant, Nvidia is pressing ahead with plans to launch a handheld of its own. The chipmaker on Monday made its Tegra 4-powered Project Shield (codename) handheld available for pre-order to those who took the trouble of signing up for Shield-related updates by clicking ‘Notify Me’ on the official Shield website.
The upcoming Android-running device, which it unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, will now be known simply as Shield and set consumers back $349, the company announced today. Nvidia will start taking pre-orders from the general public through Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center, Canada Computers and the Shield website on May 20, 2013, with the first units expected to reach customers in late June.
Shield runs what Nvidia says is “pure” Android (Jelly Bean). With Nvidia deciding against locking down the OS (à la Amazon Kindle Fire), gamers will have access to all the latest and greatest games and apps in the Play Store. In fact, a couple of games will come bundled with it.
However, it would be foolish to think that its console-esque controller is merely aimed at making the many touch-unfriendly Android games out there a touch (pardon the pun) more playable. Shield’s controller is sure to come in very handy when gamers choose to stream their favorite PC games from their GeForce GTX GPU-powered PCs to the handheld.
Here’s a quick rundown of its specs:
Has Nvidia put paid to Shield’s chances of success by pricing it in line with home consoles, or do you think that the handheld has enough juice to justify its hefty price tag? Do tell us what you think.