Hardware manufacturer Nvidia has updated its Shield Android TV system software, putting the platform one step ahead of competing microconsoles with support for Android 6.0 Marshmallow, among other significant features and additions.
Notably, the Shield Android TV is now the first Android-powered microconsole to support the Vulkan graphics API, an open-standard framework that promises “highly efficient, low-level access to modern graphics hardware.”
“Today, Nvidia is equipping Android developers with fully conformant Vulkan drivers just one week after the specifications launched,” the manufacturer announced. “In addition, Google has announced that Vulkan will be a core platform API in a future version of Android to drive new classes of interactive user experiences.”
The platform’s update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow enables support for a number of recently released mobile apps and games, including Real Racing 3, Oddworld Munch’s Oddysee, Minecraft Story Mode, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.
Shield Android TV owners can also tap into a library of console-quality games via the GeForce NOW streaming service. Subscribers currently have access to a Shield-compatible version of 2013’s Tomb Raider, and publisher Square Enix plans to support the platform with upcoming releases like Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light, Murdered: Soul Suspect, Sleeping Dogs and Quantum Conundrum.
This week’s Shield Android TV update enables new features like dashboard customization, upgradable storage, wireless support for controllers while charging via USB, and quick power menu access via the home screen.
Other improvements include an option for 1080p/60Hz resolution for Ultra HD TVs, fixed audio for the Android Netflix app, support for RGB Full Range, improved color options, and volume control support for third-party audio receivers.
The upgrade is available as a free download, and Shield Android TV owners will be prompted to update the next time they power on their systems.