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Nvidia unveils Project Shield, an Android-based gaming system powered by Tegra 4

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Nvidia plans to release its own dedicated game console dubbed Project Shield. The "pure Android" device was announced at the chipmaker's CES 2013 press conference and was announced using a real-time tech demo built in Unreal Engine 4, running on Nvidia's new Tegra 4 chip.

Project Shield is built into a "console-grade game controller," according to Nvidia, and boasts a 5-inch, 720p "retinal" multitouch display with 294dpi.

The handheld gaming device — which appears to be slightly larger than an Xbox 360 controller — is also capable of outputting 4K resolution over HDMI, which Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang demoed onstage, playing video from the TegraZone store on a 4K television, following up with a gameplay demonstration of Hawken and Vivid Games' Real Boxing.

The gaming handheld will feature a 33Wh battery that offers five to ten hours of gameplay or up to 24 hours of video playback.

In addition to running Android games, Project Shield will also be able to connect to and stream games from desktop PCs equipped with GeForce GTX graphics hardware. To demonstrate the feature, Nvidia connected to a nearby gaming PC running Steam and played a brief gameplay demo of Assassin's Creed 3.

Huang showed Shield at the center of Nvidia's vision for cloud-based computing, which includes the newly unveiled Nvidia GRID.

Nvidia did not provide a price or firm release date for Project Shield.

Update: According to the GeForce website, Project Shield will be released in Q2 2013 in the United States and Canada, with a worldwide rollout to follow.

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