Tegra 4 was not the only thing that Nvidia unveiled at its event in CES 2013. The company also announced a new handheld gaming console — Project Shield — based on its Tegra 4 SoC with which the company aims to compete with the PS Vita, Nintento Wii and other gaming consoles.
Project Shield packs in a 5-inch 720p Retinal display with multi-touch display, Nvidia’s own Tegra 4 which consists of a quad-core Cortex-A15 and 72 GPU cores, along with a microSD card slot. The 5-inch display of Project Shield is integrated on the controller itself, which somewhat resembles Microsoft’s Xbox controller and features a calm-shell design.
On the battery front, Project Shield can provide gamers with up to 5 to 10 hours of battery life for gaming, and up to 24 hours for HD video playback.
The handheld gaming console runs on stock, pure, unadulterated version of Android along with the usual bunch of Google Apps including GMail and Play Store.
The killer feature of Shield is that users can stream their games from their PC to the console over Wi-Fi or Ethernet. They can then even stream the game to their HDTV and play it using the Shield as a controller. It will also provide Project Shield users access to the world’s largest PC gaming platform – Steam.
Even though the company had some live demo units on stage, it did not mention anything about its availability or pricing.
UPDATE: Nvidia says that Project Shield will be coming to the U.S and Canada sometime in Q2 of this year.
Today, Nvidia unveiled its next generation SoC at the CES 2013 in Las Vegas. The company released its successor to the quad-core Cortex-A9 based Tegra 3, the Tegra 4 codenamed Wayne. The Tegra 4 is Nvidia’s aim at offering an SoC that competes with the Exynos and other high-end SoCs directly.
The Tegra 4 packs in a quad-core Cortex-A15 which is accompanied by the company’s patented 5th core to save battery. The SoC is also based on the 28nm fabrication process that should greatly help in improving battery life compared to Tegra 3. On the GPU side, the Tegra 4 packs in a 72-core GPU which should provide at least 10x boost in gaming performance compared to its predecessor.
Nvidia has also worked on improving the imaging capabilities of its SoC, which the company calls “Nvidia Computational photography engine”. The new ISP allows Tegra 4 based devices to take HDR photos in realtime along with live HDR video recording.
The Tegra 4 will also be accompanied by a new i500 Icera modem from Nvidia. The only downside here is that there is no integrated LTE modem on the Tegra 4. This will lead to a higher manufacturing cost for the OEMs, and also higher power consumption. The company aims to release a Tegra 4 variant with integrated LTE modem sometime in the second half of this year.
Nvidia’s CEO also showed some live demo prototypes of Tegra 4 powered tablets, but did not comment as to when Tegra 4 equipped devices will hit the shelves.
All the mobile SoCs in the market available today, except for the Qualcomm S4 Krait, are based on the Cortex-A9 architecture. The Qualcomm S4 SoC is a custom designed SoC and is a hybrid Cortex-A9/A15 competitor. The Cortex-A15 based SoCs are expected to be available later this year, or sometime early next year. The OMAP5, Exynos 5 Dual, and the Tegra 4 are the Cortex-A15 based SoCs to watch out for.
Samsung today became the first SoC maker to announce its Cortex-A15 based SoCs, the Exynos 5 Dual. The Exynos 5250 will pack two 1.7GHz Cortex-A15 cores based on the 32nm HKMG process, along with the T604 GPU from ARM. The SoC supports a whole bunch of specifications and standards including Wi-Fi Display, OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenVG 1.1, Open CL 1.1, DirectX 11, LPDDR3 RAM, SATA III controllers, and the ability to encode and decode videos at 1080p resolution with 60 FPS.
If the above standards confuse you, then in a simple word, the Exynos 5 Dual is a beast. Rumors suggest that the Exynos 5 Dual might be used by Samsung in one of its upcoming Retina-Display resolution like tablets, which is supposed to release sometime before the end of this year.
However, don’t get your hopes too high on this. The Exynos 5 Dual might just show up directly on the Galaxy S4 next year. Some Exynos 5 Dual commits were found by codeworkx earlier this year in AOSP. So it is very much possible that the next Nexus from Google will use the Exynos 5250 SoC. Only time will answer when the Exynos 5250 SoC based devices will hit the market.
The whole white page and other specs of the Exynos 5 Dual SoC can be found here.