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Nvidia Entering The Handheld Business


During Nvidia's CES 2013 presentation, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled the company's newest chip: the Tegra 4. Once again a quad-core affair, the "erratic" keynote (according to ExtremeTech) "bounced from a relatively quick treatment of the architecture's specifications to a long discussion of Tegra 4′s camera capabilities."

So what manner of mechanical beast will be be graced by this new chip? As revealed at the end of the presentation, Nvidia is indeed launching its own handheld. No stranger to the world of gaming hardware, its GeForce graphics cards are already well-known - as Time notes, "Nvidia's only rival is AMD/ATI and it's well ahead in terms of discrete graphics market share" - its Tegra processors have become commonplace on mobile phones, and its technology makes up the PS3's "Reality Synthesizer" GPU. Reportedly codenamed "Project Shield," the device will run Android Jellybean, and have 5-10 hours of battery life.

The rest of the specs, according to The Register, is as follows:

There's a quad-core Tegra 4 chip incorporating a "custom 72-core GeForce GPU" and quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU; enough battery power for "five to ten hours" of gameplay; Wi-Fi; Android Jelly Bean; MicroSD storage; a 5-inch 294ppi 1280 x 720 display; a "bass reflex, tuned port audio system with twice the low-frequency output of high-end laptops"; and HDMI output.

As the handheld market seems to be on permanent deathwatch, it is suggested that the device might not be a direct competitor to Vita and 3DS. Rather, Google Play and Nvidia's "Tegra Zone" will be the preferred method of game distribution, though interestingly, the device is said to have Steam integration. This means that games from one's Steam library could be run remotely over an "ultra-low latency wireless link."

What do you think, gamers? Does the thought of an Nvidia handheld strike your collective fancy? Sound off in the comments section below!


Shin Gallon said:

Interesting idea, but 99% of the games I play on PC (and thus, from my Steam account) I would only want to play with mouse/keyboard, not a gamepad. I'll stick with my new MacBook Pro with a WIndows partition for my kinda-sorta portable gaming.

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