NVIDIA SHIELD TV Android 11 update might already be in the works

Although it isn't by any means a big name in the Android market, NVIDIA has earned quite a reputation for how it has so far managed its SHIELD TV devices. Even those models nearly half a decade old continue to receive updates, something few manufacturers have been able to pull off. That said, NVIDIA did categorically deliver some bad news about Android 10, but it seems that it is also working behind the scenes to deliver an even more recent version of Android to its users.

Even before the likes of Samsung started pushing for three or more years of Android updates, NVIDIA has been acting as a good Android citizen in supporting even SHIELD TV devices that would now be considered obsolete. There is always a chance, however, that the good situation would eventually end, and that time almost came last month. Fortunately, that may not be the case just yet.

In late August, NVIDIA gave the disheartening news that it would not be rolling out Android 10 to its supported devices. Its rationale was simple but perhaps also a bit ironic. There weren't many notable improvements from Android 9 to Android 10 to justify the work in upgrading the SHIELD Experience software. Then again, if the changes were indeed small, it should have also been easier to apply NVIDIA's custom Android TV experience on top.

Nonetheless, NVIDIA didn't exactly close its doors to future Android updates, and Android Police was alerted to some activity on Reddit that confirms that. A few posts about a SHIELD Experience 9.0.0 Android 11 have been disappearing all over the network, suggesting that the company has started its secretive, closed beta phase. Of course, removing those posts only implies this possibility, but the more immediate cause for their deletion is breaking NDAs.

An Android 11 closed beta doesn't immediately mean it will be delivered later on, especially if NVIDIA runs into showstopping bugs it can't squash. It's at least reassuring to discover that the graphics tech giant is still considering that option and that it has deemed Android 11 to be a big enough upgrade to warrant testing. It will still be a year late, considering Android 12 just hit AOSP, but it's a lot better than being stuck on Android 9 forever.