Say what you want about NVIDIA but its commitment to its SHIELD Android TV devices is perhaps unprecedented in the Android world. Sure, it has already abandoned its SHIELD Portable handheld and its SHIELD Tablets saw their last updates in March, but even those were delivered long after most OEMs would have stopped providing updates. Its real SHIELD baby, however, is the SHIELD Android TV consoles and those are now getting an update that does more than just add new features or apps. It also prolongs their use by letting them “play” PC games on TVs.
Those familiar with NVIDIA’s services and devices won’t be at all surprised by this. In fact, it was just in July that the company announced how it was revising its GeForce NOW game streaming service to support streaming games from a PC. Stream to where? Why to your NVIDIA SHIELD, of course!
That features is now in free beta testing and the SHIELD Upgrade Experience 7.1 enhances that experience with the addition of features like in-game voice chat (with a headset), an Android and iOS app that turns your phone into a virtual mouse and keyboard, as well as direct support for keyboard and mouse for PC games that don’t lend themselves well to game controllers. With a growing list of supported games, GeForce NOW ensures that the SHIELD’s usefulness never really goes away.
The update also has other new features and games for the core Android TV experience. On the apps side, Google Assistant gets the multiple language support that Google announced just a few days back. The Prime Video app gets Amazon’s much-touted X-Ray feature. And YouTube can now be controlled with your voice via Google Assistant.
New apps and games are still being added to the Android TV console, including AMC, WIRED, Evoland 2, and Implosion, just to name a notable few. NVIDIA clearly isn’t done yet with its SHIELD platform, making one wonder how well it would have performed if it continued with its plans for an Android smartphone.