Nvidia previews own gaming device, shows off Tegra 4

Mon Jan 7, 2013 7:02pm EST
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By Noel Randewich

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Nvidia offered a sneak preview of a hand-held gaming device, powered by its latest "Tegra 4" processor, that it hopes will help it go up against Sony Corp, Microsoft Corp and other device makers in consumer gaming.

Called "Project Shield", the device - a cross between the controller familiar to most console gamers and a small tablet display - will be sold direct to consumers, an unusual move for a company best known for computer graphics cards and mobile processors.

The unveiling late on Sunday took the industry by surprise. Nvidia offered few details beyond basic specifications. Executives said that when it launches, it will be able to run Google Android games now found on smartphones and tablets. It can also stream games from PCs.

"Everything you do with your Android device just works here," Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang told reporters in Las Vegas ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show.

"This is the culmination of five years of work."

Nvidia is keeping a tight lid on Project Shield, with only a handful of closely guarded prototypes circulating within the company, a source at Nvidia told Reuters. Huang would not say when the device -- or the Tegra 4 that powers it -- will begin selling, or at what price.

Tablets and smartphones support limited control functions like swiping and tapping. By integrating a controller with a screen, Nvidia may be angling for hardcore gamers who play shooter and other intense action games on consoles.

Developers have not yet been successful in bringing such titles to mobile devices like the Apple iPad, analysts say.   Continued...