Nvidia boasts its Shield tablet is the 'perfect device for gamers' (+video)

The Nvidia Shield, a new tablet with gamers in mind, is setting the stage for a new era of tablet specialization. 

By , Staff Writer

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    Nvidia announced Tuesday its new Shield tablet designed to optimize gaming experiences.
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Nvidia is bringing gaming to the tablet. 

Nvidia announced Tuesday its new Shield tablet, which runs on Google's latest Android KitKat operating system, has an 8-inch screen, 16 gigabytes of storage, and starts selling at $299. 

Known for its graphics processing units, Nvidia last year released a different Shield gaming device, essentially a gaming controller with a five-inch screen attached. Selling for $199, it has since been renamed the Shield Portable.

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Now, however, Nvidia has also released a new wireless Shield controller for gaming, available for $59.99.

"We really think this is a perfect device for gamers," Matt Wuebbling, the general manager for the Shield tablet, told PCWorld. "A really high cross-section of people have tablets and want a tablet for gaming." 

The original Shield Portable is not being replaced by the new tablet and controller; rather, the name "Shield" will refer to a whole group of products, which may end up paving the way for full Shield gaming system compatible with Google's Android TV, announced last month at the annual Google I/O developers conference, as Patrick Moorhead suggests in Forbes. 

Of course, a separate gaming system may not actually be necessary given that the Shield's display can be viewed on many different types of screens, such as computer monitors and TVs, thanks to an HDMI port on the tablet. 

Like other Android tablets, the Shield tablet comes loaded with Google Play for apps, including Netflix and Pandora, on top of more than 200 optimized game titles for Shield. 

This comes at a time when the tablet market is beginning to slow its growth, due to the penetration of smart phones with large screens, or "phablets," but also as a result of the maturing of tablets. And this maturity seems to be setting the stage for specialization among the kinds of tablets that are available, Mr. Moorhead notes in Forbes. After all, why buy Nvidia's tablet if it's more or less the same as other similar products? But if you're gamer, then this might be the tablet for you. 

"Nvidia, with the SHIELD tablet, is delivering the first consumer tablet optimized for games in its design, integration, software, and peripherals," writes Moorhead

Users can also stream games from PCs through Nvidia's GameStream technology and through its Grid cloud gaming service, which is currently being beta tested. 

Still, there's more than enough opportunities for gamers on this little device. A stylus and drawing application called Dabbler lets users take advantage of the tablet's 3-D capability to create "hyper-realistic watercolor" and oil paintings. 

The tablet is available immediately for pre-order with shipments beginning July 29 in the US and Canada and will be available later this year in Europe and Asia. An LTE-equipped Shield tablet with 32 gigabytes of storage will also become available later this year. 

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