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Why the NVidia Shield is My Most Wanted Piece of Tech in 2013

The portable games console, the Nvidia Shield is looking at being a surprise hit of 2013. This open sourced handheld games console allows streaming to HDTVs/monitors and even your PC. Plus it has its main party trick, streaming PC games to it. Based on a stock Android Jelly Bean, the Nvidia Shield will be an open platform gaming device, with the full Android back catalog available to play. So why do I want one? And what problems do NVidia face?

What the Nvidia, and the Play Store lack are mutliplayer games. There are very few, and even less good, online mutliplayer console style games on Android. Shadowgun shows the potential, but we need to see the big name games/brands like Dead Trigger 2, Modern Combat, and FIFA putting serious effort into the online modes. Local multiplayer games would be nice too. On phones this was a none issue, but with a device like the Shield it would be great to be able to bring a friends Shield around and play some split screen on the big TV.

The biggest task for NVidia isnt to get manufacturers onboard, the success of Android platform has done that for them. Its to push the Tegra optimised games to the next level. I love the Tegra Zone on my Nexus 7, the games tend to be better than the average Play Store games as they have got the budgets to do the graphical side, they also tend to put effort into usability. Now Tegra 3 is in millions of devices, and while Tegra 4 looks to build on this, lets see manufacturers pushing the platform.

The Shield (and the OUYA) represents a shift in home gaming, not mobile in my opinion. If the price is right and I got a Shield, it would very rarely be taken out. It would be the device I pick up to play on, while the missus is watching TV instead of my tablet. Then when a TV is available I can continue my game on the big screen. Plus with the free to sub £5 games, you feel like you can have a punt and get into a game fast without thinking. Being in my late 20s I unfortunately dont have the time to play 80 hours of Final Fantasy 7, like I did…. Or 50 hours of Forza Motorsport. I enjoy a quick blast on Gears of War Horde mode with my friends, and the odd game here or there on my Nexus 7.

However the genius of the Shield is it also appeals to console gamers like me, also well as those who do spend £300 on a graphics card for their PCs, as they can stream the games from their GTX cards to the Shield. Steam are behind this too, plus once Nvidias cloud gaming gets into full swing, the Shield could become the one stop device. I’m not sure why you would want to stream to the Shield inside the same house though?

What about OUYA? Well just because it is not as powerful as the Shield doesnt mean it cant succeed. Nintendo has shown that. Both the OUYA and the Nvidia Shield do represent a threat to the Console Establishment, although they are not direct competitors to each other. Despite all the rumours, no one knows what the PS4 / Next XBox will do or be. However for the first time, I am not interested. If they just turn out to be more power, more media center etc. I 100% will not be getting one. I haven’t bought a full price £35-40 game for years. I buy second hand 6 months down the line as I cant justify the full price. Neither can most of my friends, its simply not worth it. With rumours that the new XBox will push what some current games (Battlefield 3 /WWE 13 etc.) have started by requiring a code to play online, it will make second hand games as expensive as new ones. £10-15 for the game, £10 for the online, on top of £40pa for the online service, it all adds up.  I get why they do it, the publisher makes nothing off second hand games, but it will stop some people buying. The NVidia Shield will have none of this, plus the games will be dirt cheap in the first place. Sure you cant sell the games on, but at Free to £5 does it matter?

Until it is released, noone knows who well it will catch on, but with the might of a company like NVidia behind it, and some very clever and POWERFUL tech I really want to get my hands on a Nvidia Shield.

Watch this video of Real Boxing running on the Nvidia Shield


Mobile Phones

Ubuntu Phone OS Video Demo CES 2013

Many have been waiting eagerly for all the latest phone tech at CES, and Ubuntu Phone OS is one of the items I really look forward to. Shown at CES 2013 in Vegas today this video shows how Ubuntu Phone works hands on. Obviously this is still a prototype but it looks silky smooth already. Ubuntu Phone is aimed at emerging markets, so this high end smoothness could be achieved on a lower end phone.

The video shows navigating through picture galleries to be very intuitive, and excellently presented. Ubuntu desktop has always looked very modern and clean, and the phone version looks to build on this. For those that do not know, Ubuntu Phone OS is designed on the EXACT same system as the PC OS, meaning you can plug in a monitor, mouse and keyboard and you have a fully fledged PC. Add in a remote control and HDTV and you have a Smart TV media center, with all the available apps on your traditional PC. Ubuntu seem to be the first to combine all the features we see in Android , iOS and Windows phone but placing the inevitable merge of operating systems in one place.

It uses a launcher similar to Unity on the left. Some Ubuntu users really disliked Unity when it first arrived, but this looks very intuitive and smooth when used with touch.

The main rival for Ubuntu Phone could be Firefox OS, which again is aiming at emerging markets, specifically South America. Both OSs look very smooth and if they can get phone manufacturers onboard they could be an excellent way to get into the smartphone market. Not only that but current Ubuntu users may relish the chance to have all their current setup transferred over to a phone. Personally I think this will be a great Tablet OS.

Video Below

Mobile Phones

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