Nvidia’s original Shield console launched last summer to mixed reviews. It went on sale in the US and so far Nvidia has been rather reluctant when it comes to other markets.
Shield 2 is in the works, that’s no secret. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang confirmed that the company plans to roll out a new console with each new Tegra generation, hence the Shield 2 feature a Tegra K1 chip with 192 Kepler cores.
More RAM, slightly higher resolution
The Shield 2 has now popped up on the AnTuTu benchmark database. The listing was unearthed by gforgames.com. It is said to feature a new 1440x810 screen, up from 1280x800 on the first gen Shield, along with 4GB of RAM, up from 2GB. The sample was running Android 4.4.2 and AnTuTu also identified an 0.3-megapixel camera. The original Shield had no camera and frankly we don’t know why it was added. It still has 16GB of internal storage, just like its predecessor.
The Tegra K1 used in the engineering sample was clocked up to 2525MHz. The Tegra 4 used in the first generation console was clocked at 1.9GHz. Like the Tegra 4, the new Tegra K1 features four Cortex A15 cores, but it has a much more powerful GPU.
The clock bump is interesting, too. Keep in mind that this does not mean other Tegra 4 devices will offer the same clock. The Shield is bigger and thicker than your average tablet, so it can accommodate a more capacious battery and better cooling, including active cooling for load scenarios.
Shield is part of a wider strategy
Nvidia never disclosed any official sales figures for the first generation Shield. The device looked more like a tech demonstrator and a proof-of-concept than a device with mass market appeal. Don’t get us wrong, the hardware is ok, even the first generation Shield excelled at gaming.
However, the Android gaming ecosystem remains limited. There aren’t that many games that place an emphasis on eye candy. Casual games like King’s Candy Crush are much more common. Nvidia’s way of getting around this problem is PC streaming. It wasn’t quite ready when the first-gen Shield launched, but now it’s slowly getting there.
Nvidia burned a lot of money to develop the Shield and associated services. The investment does not make much sense for the time being, as it is highly unlikely to recoup the investment anytime soon. The company is not planning to sell millions of units, at least not yet.
The Shield always was and still is part of Nvidia’s wider, long-term gaming strategy, a strategy that revolves around PC streaming rather than Android gaming. Whether or not it will pay off remains to be seen.