Nvidia to Launch SHIELD in June for $349

Nvidia today announced pricing and a release window for its hand-held console system, Project SHIELD (now called simply SHIELD), this morning. The system will cost almost as much as the Wii U, which is surprising given that its other Android-based competitors like the GameStick and the Ouya are priced at right around $100.

Nvidia said that it plans to release SHIELD in the month of June for a retail price of $349. It will be sold at Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center and Canada Computers. Pre-orders will go live on May 20th for the general public on shield.nvidia.com, but those who signed up to receive SHIELD updates by clicking “Notify Me” on the SHIELD website will have an exclusive opportunity to pre-order starting today, according to Nvidia.

Nvidia says that the SHIELD will offer the following specs:

•Tegra 4 – The world’s fastest mobile processor delivers rich graphics and unbeatable performance thanks to 72 GPU cores, four CPU cores and 2GB of RAM

•Console-grade controller – Precise control thanks to dual analog joysticks, a full-sized D-Pad, left and right analog triggers, full-sized bumpers and A/B/X/Y buttons

•Multi-touch display – 5-inch, 720p retinal multi-touch display for high-fidelity visuals

•Integrated speakers – Custom, bass reflex, tuned port audio system – we think this is SHIELD’s sleeper feature

•Wi-Fi – 802.11n 2X2 MIMO game-speed Wi-Fi for game streaming

•Pure Android – Latest Android Jelly Bean operating system from Google, for access to Android games and apps

•There’s more – We put into SHIELD everything we would want in a premium mobile gaming device: 16 GB memory, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, a mini-HDMI output, micro-USB 2.0, a microSD storage slot, a 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack.

A full spec sheet can be found here. SHIELD will also feature PC (GeForce supported) game streaming, though that feature will be in "beta" at launch. Using this feature you'll be able to stream games from your PC – including games from Steam to your living room TV. This sounds like Big Picture to me, but Nvidia can call it whatever they like.

We'll have more on this system as it gets closer to launch. Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

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