The SHIELD Tablet K1 may just be a more affordable, stylus-less version of the original SHIELD Tablet, but that doesn’t make it a has-been in any way. In typical NVIDIA “good Android citizen” image, the tablet is getting a new update, not to Android N preview of course, but at least some parts of it. In particular, NVIDIA is rolling out support for the fledgling Vulkan API just as it did with the SHIELD Android TV console last February. The update also brings a ton of fixes to the gaming tablet.
Vulkan is poised to be the success of OpenGL as the next gen graphics library for creating high performance applications. You know, like games. Any such “standard” will naturally require the support of hardware makers and NVIDIA is only too happy to jump head on. Last February, just right after the version 1.0 of Vulkan was released, NVIDIA updated the SHiELD console with support for the API in order to entice developers to get a head start with Vulkan, with NVIDIA’s hardware of course. Now it’s the turn of the SHIELD Tablet K1 to get a similar update.
That’s not only thing happening in this update. Firmware version 1.2 definitely packs quite a punch. It includes certain changes that Google itself introduced in Android 6.0.1, like a fix for the Do Not Disturb function and double-tapping the home button to launch the camera app. Also included are all the security patches for Android 6.0 starting from the last update in February all the way to March 1. The update also adds support for Doze mode, introduced in Android 6.0, as well as other power-related improvements.
NVIDIA also throws in its own device-specific fixes. For example, it adds support for MIDI devices via USB, somewhat of a rare feature among Android devices. The update also fixes some issues regarding Wi-Fi when waking up from sleep, moving apps to the SD card, and Gamepad Mapper.
The rather sizeable update is definitely a welcome one for owners of this second gen SHIELD Tablet. It is definitely encouraging to see some relatively smaller players in the Android market pushing out timely updates in contrast to some bigger OEMs that should be doing likewise.