Well this is a surprise. The graphics card maker Nvidia just announced during CES 2013 that they are entering the handheld arena. During a press release,they unveiled Project Shield, a handheld device that plays Steam games and Android games.
The handheld, in design looks very similar to an Xbox 360 controller, but with a 5 inch screen that has a 1280x720 HD retinal multi-touch display. The device has the standard button layout found on the actual 360 controller and PS3 controller, has HDMI (Which I have a feeling would utilize Steam's new Big Picture feature), a headphone, mini-USB outs, microSD memory slot, and its own speaker system.
Android Games on Google Play and Nvidia TegraZone are all accessible through device. With Steam games, the device can stream Steam games as long as you are near the PC. Games mentioned are Skyrim, Assassin's Creed 3, Battlefield 3, and many more are said to be playable on that 5 inch screen. It is also mentioned that Project Shield can access Android apps like Hulu and Netflix.
It is said that Project Shield can last up to 10 hours of game time and 24 hours of video playback.
Together with the unveil, Nvidia announces the Tegra 4, which they are stating to be the fastest mobile processor with 72 cores and a Quad-core A15 CPU. It is also compatible with LTE networks. Project Shield is being powered by the new Tegra 4.
Not too sure why they'd like to venture on to portable gaming now. Feels like a big risk, with a world now filled with smart phones, tablets, and iPhones/iPads. The PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS is struggling as it is, so I'm not too sure if they will do any better. Since Steam games can only be played on Project Shield if you are near your PC, then Android games is the only option if you want "On the go" gaming, but smart phones and tablets got that covered. The big question is how much it would cost? So far, no details regarding the price.
Project Shield is planned to be released during the second quarter of this year.
For more information, you can visit the official site for the device.