Hardware manufacturer Nvidia has dropped plans to continue its Shield Tablet gaming brand with a rumored upgrade, announcing in an FCC filing this week that “for business reasons, the product has been canceled.”
Though Nvidia did not disclose the specific reasoning behind its decision to drop the in-development Shield Tablet successor, the cancellation arrives months before the launch of Nintendo’s NX console, which reportedly features similar hardware.
Introduced in 2013, Nvidia’s Shield Portable was a stand-alone games console that featured a dual-analog controller and a unique flip-up touchscreen display. The device was powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 4 system on a chip, and featured a Console Mode that enabled high-resolution TV output.
Nvidia followed up on the Shield Portable in 2014 with the Shield Tablet, another Android-powered games console featuring boosted touchscreen display resolution and a detachable controller. The original Shield Tablet was eventually recalled due to safety concerns. Nvidia later reissued the device in 2015 as the Shield Tablet K1, which features identical hardware specs and a lower suggested retail price.
Despite Nvidia’s persistent efforts to break into the console gaming business, its Shield devices struggled for relevance with a limited slate of exclusive software, ultimately offering little beyond what was already available on consoles and other Android platforms via Google Play. Critics also targeted the Shield Tablet’s high price point and the diminished capacity of its battery, which would drain quickly during demanding gaming sessions.
Nvidia announced plans for the next entry in its Shield Tablet lineup earlier this year, revealing that the device would feature support for dual-band Wireless AC connectivity, Bluetooth, and Bluetooth Low Energy, though more detailed technical specifications were not disclosed.
Some speculate that the “business reasons” Nvidia cited for its decision to drop this year’s Shield Tablet may be related to Nintendo’s upcoming NX console, which is rumored to feature a similar Tegra mobile processor at its core. It’s possible that Nvidia views the NX as competition, as the two platforms may have ended up targeting a similar market segment. The Nintendo NX launches in March 2017.
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