Well, that's exciting! Hardware-maker Nvidia revealed development of an Android-powered handheld game console at a pre-CES press conference tonight. The system, currently going by the name "Project Shield," sports an Xbox 360-like controller with a 5" 720p touch screen attached. Nvidia claims that the internal battery allows for 5-10 hours of gameplay and up to 24 hours of video, putting it on par (if not slightly above) other handheld consoles on the market.
CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said that the handheld system is "pure Android" and showed off several different functions including video playback, social networking, and listening to audio, because it wouldn't be a game console if you couldn't watch
Oh, and it plays video games--that's important. Huang showed off a few Android games, including a demo for the upcoming Hawken and some other Android games that looked great on the handheld's Tegra 4 processor. Even more exciting are Project Shield's PC gaming capabilities, which were also shown off (after a few technical hiccups). The system can't actually play PC games, but it can connect to a PC via wireless and stream Steam's Big Picture Mode. This, when mixed with the system's HDMI out capable of outputting 4K resolution, means you can play PC games on your TV with little lag (according to Nvidia), and serves as the link many need to get PC gaming on the television. In short, Project Shield is essentially working like the "rumored" Steam Box console was supposed to.
No price or release date were mentioned outside of the Q2 2013 launch window, but we'll definitely be keeping an eye on what appears to be the most exciting Android-powered game console of the bunch. You can find more information (and more shiny images) on Nvidia's website.