Nvidia’s Shield gaming clamshell hybrid thing is now officially arriving in stores and online June 27th. You’ll be able to buy one from a number of Canadian retailers, including Canada Computers and GameStop.
The company just made the release date official after pre-orders went live last month, and on customer feedback lowered the portable console’s price from $349 to $299. This will allow the unit to better competee with the PlayStation Vitas and iPods touch of the world, and should get it into more hands faster.
Shield is an interesting experiment for Nvidia, who have a lot invested in the silicon underneath — its completely redesigned Tegra 4 SoC — in addition to the mobile gaming market in general. As Sony flounders and Apple picks up the debris, Android gaming is beginning a bit of a golden age. There are still issues with app availability and performance parity, but improved developer tools and audience support have given the average Android gamer a repertoire of choice to be proud of.
Shield also purports to be an open platform: it will offer games through Google’s own Play Store in addition to its TegraZone portal, which offers a curated list of games optimized for Nvidia’s hardware. The Tegra 4 promises to be up to ten times faster than the incredibly successful Tegra 3 chip, which dominated the tablet market in 2012. Tegra 4 lacks built-in LTE capabilities, making it of limited accessibility to phone manufacturers, but its phone-centric variant, the T4i, intends to challenge Qualcomm with native LTE connectivity and low-power, high-speed performance.
For more information on the Nvidia Shield, see our extensive hands-on.