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HP begins selling their recently-announced 14-inch touchscreen Chromebook

Posted by wicked December - 22 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

HP Chromebook

Back in September, HP announced their plans to sell two new touchscreen Chromebooks, the Chromebook 11 and the Chromebook 14. Around three months after their initial announcement, HP is finally selling the Chromebook 14, available for $439.99.

The older Chromebook 14 suffered from a poor, glossy display, coming in with a 1366 x 768 resolution which left users wanting more. The company has apparently taken consumer feedback to heart, as they’re now offering the Chromebook 14 with a 1080p touchscreen. Not only does the new model come with a better screen, it’s also toting the new NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor. It also brings 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and of course, microSD card expansion. The Chromebooks battery life is quoted to last up to 8 hours and 15 minutes, which is pretty standard on Chrome OS devices. Included on the Chromebook are two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, one HDMI output, and one 3.5mm headphone jack. The Chromebook 14 is also available in only one color, Snow White with Smoke Silver accents. Just like the original Chromebook 14, the newer model weighs in quite heavily at 3.77 pounds.

You can grab your own Chromebook 14 directly from HP for $439.99.

Top 6 Reasons Why Android OEMs Should Expect Dismal Growth In 2015

Posted by wicked December - 22 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

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As we close on 2014, and approach 2015, it doesn’t hurt to take a step back and reflect on what was accomplished and what didn’t work out so well during the year. 2014, without a doubt, showed off some great new tech like Android Wear, and virtual reality is finally showing tangible signs of life. Even Apple decided to finally do something new (for itself) and make a reasonable phone size.

2014, as it’s winding down, is also showing some rather dangerous indications of what might be in store for Android OEMs in 2015. Sharp declines in sales, market stagnation and ridiculous patent warfare may bleed over into the new year, and I doubt anyone is going to come out victorious in the end.

It may seem odd to have a negative tone toward Android OEMs on an Android news site, but I think it’s important to always be mindful of the world around us. Question and debate everything, make smart resolutions quickly and be nimble enough to adapt.

That being said, here are my top 6 reasons why Android original-equipment-manufacturers (OEMs) like Samsung, LG and HTC should not expect a stellar year. This list is my opinion and is definitely not all-inclusive, but as an Android enthusiast, it’s where I see the market headed. It’s my hope that knowing the symptoms can prevent the disease.

#1: Frequency in flagship releases

Sheena Iyengar is a professor at the Columbia Business School and has some insights about a concept known as consumer fatigue. In her book, The Art of Choosing, she talks about how when given too much choice, the consumer will become paralyzed and choose nothing.

That being said, do we really need such superficial improvements in our flagships each year, sometimes twice a year? It is a waste of money for the consumer and it is a waste of money for the manufacturer, and it generates consumer fatigue. You cannot sit there and tell me you can tell the difference between a Snapdragon 801 and an 805.

One theory as to why the Galaxy S5 did not do so hot this year was that it just wasn’t offering anything substantial compared to the Galaxy S4. I agree and I would have rather Samsung saved its money and put it towards making something revolutionary. But they didn’t, so here we all are being forced to make Apple comparisons still.

Another example is display resolution. Biologically speaking, the human eye can only see so much. Yet, here we are coming into 2015, still possessing this mistaken belief that we need a new flagship device simply because the display is so much better technically speaking.

FHD vs. UHD is a touchy and tough argument. Not to mention the debate changes radically when discussing TVs vs. mobile devices. You’re never going to sit face-planted in a TV and, unless you’re doing very well for yourself, you’re probably not going to own an 84-inch TV. At least you shouldn’t, so stop buying out of your price range, but I digress.

You are, however, probably going to shell out some dough for a flagship smart device. Chances are you’re going to hold the device at varying ranges from your eyes, sometimes very close. Stop it — it’s not good for your eyes — plus, be glad, I just saved you $800 USD from buying the so-called next-gen device.

1080p is just fine and you can easily wait until a device sporting a UHD 4K screen with good hardware and battery capacity to back it, plus other new and great features, hits the market. This criteria is not met by any of the current flagships or proposed flagships.

#2: It’s lonely at the top

Apple is old news. Sure, many tech journalists who are either getting on in their years or are still fearful of Apple’s known wrath against negative reporting may say all of the vintage buzzwords with regard to Apple product releases, but the facts remain. Apple is seeing zero upward  trending in emerging markets and still dances around the same values in market share in established markets.

And that’s okay for Apple. Apple will be the first to tell you that it likes this role because it only ever intends on releasing a very limited set of products with very expected sets of features that you can safely assume are going to work without a hitch. Apple Maps excluded.

So who’s at the top and what point am I making? Android OEMs are at the summit but this was not always the case in traditional markets.

Samsung’s rise to power in market domination was, and let’s be realistic, based on seeing what Apple was doing and then doing it better. Along the way it tried various things on its own, some of which stunk while other things, like the Note series, created a whole new, popular category in the smart device field, the phablet.

LG, HTC, Sony and others followed suit. Each of these OEMs saw what Samsung was doing, picked what worked great and tried things on their own. When I think of a device that can withstand the elements of our dynamic, wet planet, I think of Sony. When I think of an awesome sound experience from my smartphone, I think of HTC. When I think of OEMs that are very friendly to the hardcore Android modding community, I think of Sony especially, and LG to some extent.

At the source of all of this was Apple, though. That was the target to reach and surpass. But it seems like it’s been almost four years since Apple has done anything remotely industry-leading and that is finally catching up to Samsung and the others.

Samsung, if one were to go off its latest sales reports, has completely dropped the ball in leading. Samsung has emulated Apple almost too well and has fallen into the trap of thinking of itself as a cult that is more obsessed with hearing itself talk than listening to market feedback.

Further reading: Samsung considering management changes as Galaxy S 5 sales fall 40% short

After a disastrous 4th quarter, Samsung is beginning to take the hint. Forcing pay cuts on management, then finally letting go of many management personnel, Samsung claims it is going back to the drawing board with “Project Zero.”

And how often is HTC going to skirt bankruptcy rumors? Its metal unibody design is fantastic. Placing two speakers in the front was brilliant, albeit low-hanging fruit, but that worked for Apple for almost a decade. It still does not appear to be enough.

Xiomi, the world’s third biggest smartphone manufacturer, just recently reported that its net profit for 2014 — hold on to your chairs — was a meager $56 million USD, despite crushing Samsung in the Chinese markets. It could be said that those profits are so slim because it depleted its war-chest in its fight against Samsung, but I am assuming it wasn’t much to begin with.

I am not an engineer nor am I software designer, so I can’t offer many suggestions to remedy the above. What I can say is that the market is showing signs of hunger and Android OEMs look like they are fixing to get chewed up in 2015.

#3: Wasting time on technology, apps, services and lawsuits

Let me start with display technology, seeing as how that’s what was discussed in my second point so much. I hate LCD. I can immediately tell when I’m looking at AMOLED vs. LCD and, for me, LCD looks like it’s been hit with a layer of bleach.

I hate the LCD on my Nexus 5 and I really hate the LCD on my Asus laptop. You can be 1080p all day long, my dear laptop, but when I have to wear sunglasses to view your whites, I’m not pleased. And yes, LG, makers of the Nexus 5, I can see the backlight around the edges of the screen on dark backgrounds.

Some people don’t like AMOLED, mainly because of its color saturation. I sympathize, but I really would rather have that be the problem than white-washed darks.

Not long ago in 2013, Sony began releasing LCD devices utilizing its triluminos technology — their fancy rewording of quantum dot technology — which is basically a somewhat fix for LCD’s backlight issues. So to recap, Sony’s answer to compete better with AMOLED was by going down an, ultimately, dead-end road instead of fixing the color saturation on superior technology. I wonder which direction would’ve saved Sony time and money?

The biggest offender behind redundant apps and services goes to Samsung, though. Does anyone remember ChatON or WatchON, Samsung’s attempts to compete with the plethora of messaging apps and TV-guide apps in existence? Those are getting shut down this month. Did Samsung learn its lesson? Hell no, as it has just recently been reported that it is working on an Apple Pay competitor. Samsung, a word of advice, there’s an Apple Pay competitor that you are already integrated with and you can throw your energy behind: Google Wallet.

Further reading: Samsung’s ChatON messaging service finally bites the dust everywhere but the US

Samsung to permanently discontinue WatchON in several markets

Samsung may be working on an Apple Pay competitor

How many redundant fitness apps, magazine apps, casting apps, etc., do the OEMs need to put out there, especially when a lot of these apps are almost immediately put out to pasture and yet still come pre-loaded as bloatware on our devices? I understand that there is revenue that comes into play with these apps, which is why even Google will be a culprit in this. To Google’s credit, though, it usually maintains support behind its apps or folds them into existing ones to offer more features. Take a page from Google’s playbook, OEMs, buy popular established apps instead of wasting your time and money. Or just don’t compete with them at all, no one likes the kid on the playground who thinks he or she can do everything better.

On the matter of tablets and smartphones, stop making so many variants. Was the Note Edge really necessary? What a considerable waste of resources that must have been. I cringe when I think of the market value of raw materials going up after Samsung decided to produce such a device.

Finally, enough with the lawsuits over patents. Can’t we all just get along? The most recent of which being between Samsung and NVIDIA. Samsung actually sued to get NVIDIA’s graphics chips banned from the US.

Further reading: Samsung files complaint to remove NVIDIA’s graphics chips from the United States

In Samsung’s defense, NVIDIA did start the fight, but what I would really like to know is how much these companies pay to lawyers? Whatever it is, take the majority of those fees and apply it to research and development. Let product strength and unique technology be your defense in court, but perhaps I’m naive when it comes to licensing fees and such.

#4: Android and its many flavors

There is one reason to have non-stop flagship updates: so we can get the latest version of Android without waiting months or years for over-the-air (OTA) updates.

Android being “fractured” used to be a common thing for Apple and its fans to say when discussing Google’s operating system, but the knock began to quiet down when Jelly Bean released. Jelly Bean, by sheer Google-sized force and the dying off of old smart devices, quickly rose to dominance in the Android ecosystem. And, for a time, things were good. Then came Kit Kat and its new features were fairly miniscule enough to not cause many complaints about not having the latest Android OS.

Now there’s the massive Android OS overhaul that is Lollipop and the clamor is back. The Google search results for “lollipop update” calls up a list of enormous size of people wondering when their device will get the newest version. It is probably safe to assume the next flagship device will come out featuring Android 5.0 before you ever get an OTA update.

This is where Apple’s small market share really is of benefit, despite that Apple only cares about its consumers running the last two or so generations of its devices. The products are running its hardware and its software. There’s streamlined coordination at work.

Google, on the other hand, is stuck with herding cats. Like cats, Android OEMs enjoy doing their own thing. Android OEMs have their own skins, their own hardware setups and other vendor-specific changes. Google can talk Android One all it wants with regard to emerging markets, but it’ll be a tough sale to try to bring that to established markets. Google desperately needs to change its cats to cattle and cowboy-up.

Perhaps Project Ara will save Google from this fiasco. I imagine that Ara will have very specific specifications that Google will need to enforce to even have a functioning modular device, so there’s hope yet.

The reason this is an issue for 2015 has to do with how amazing Android 5.0 is. To put it bluntly, Lollipop is awesome. Once consumers get their hands on it, there’s going to be even less incentive for them to upgrade their devices to some new, incremental flagship.

#5: A wild slate appears!

Another year, another slate. Thank the heavens for third-party cases because I am disgusted by each and every smart device’s appearance year after year. I get it: rectangle.

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This is probably the single most reason I was thrilled when I heard news of the Moto 360. I know, in your head you’re telling me that the Moto 360 is a watch. Yes, but it is a watch that didn’t compromise the information displayed on its screen even though all of the formatting being pumped through it was designed with rectangles in mind.

And before I get hate-mail from the normally peaceful rectangle-loving crowd, I don’t have anything against the rectangle. Can we all just admit that there could be a little more done with the aesthetics of it?

In my Google+ circles, I have a page that does nothing but post concept art for smart devices. Most are unrealistic, like transparent tablets, but there are some that are so incredible that I have to really wonder who is helming the ships of these OEM companies’ design teams.

Every year, we are introduced to a new smart device that pushes the limit on thin and light. Every year, I have to search for a new case that adds more heft and bulk to that device. I am not a klutz, I had my Nexus 5 for a long time without a case on it and never got close to dropping it, but the physical feedback of a thousand-dollar device that is cardboard-thin and feather-light is just terrible.

I’d like to see companies stop wasting their time competing with who can make the thinnest, lightest smart device that only has the battery power of a toy car. Let’s make it thicker and add in a bigger battery and some design aesthetics, which will increase its weight. Heck, throw some grippy material on the sides for fun.

At least Russian manufacturer Yota is trying something new with its two-sided smartphone. On the front of the device is the traditional display, while on the back is a mirrored display that uses e-ink. It may be a bit gimmicky, but kudos to them for thinking outside of the box.

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Anyone remember all of the teaser material that OnePlus put out for its One device? It was supposed to have this radically new design and bring something fresh to the market. Yeah, let’s just say the hype they generated did not live up to my expectations. The device didn’t even match the sketches OnePlus teased us with.

Additionally, let’s end the whole plastic vs. metal debate. Plastic has never bothered me. I loved the design on my Samsung Epic 4G Touch and it was a device I really hated having in a case. I gag in my mouth every time I see the word “premium” used in a sentence with “metal.” I’m sure that “premium” was an adjective that didn’t readily spring to mind with owners of a bent iPhone.

One of the bright spots on the horizon is with Moto Maker, Project Ara and flexible screens. If you’re an OEM and you’re lazily making a flexible screen device that just looks like squashed phone, you’re doing it wrong.

I’m focusing this point on hardware. I know there are a lot of people who are unhappy with software related things, like OEM skins over stock Android, but there are market options for that. You don’t like TouchWiz and don’t like to root your device? Try another manufacturer. Unlike the stagnant hardware options, software has variety.

#6: The return of the Sith…erm, Windows

Microsoft is really everyone’s favorite kid to bully, but as in any good plotline, the disenfranchised may rise up. Next year will bring us Windows 10 and, if rumors are to be believed, it may spell disaster for Android OEMs.

Microsoft is skipping the Windows 9 designation and going straight for 10 in a move, it says, to illustrate how Windows 10 is a huge leap from the junk that was Windows 8. It’s a good thing Microsoft used the name 2000 and Vista before Windows XP and 7, respectively, or we’d really be getting up there in numbers…

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To put it short, Windows 10 is purported to be bringing that El Dorado of device integration, one operating system across all devices with real-time connectivity. If Windows 8 was an expeditionary foray into the abyss, then Windows 10 may have finally staked a claim in that new world.

Google was ridiculed in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s for believing in such an always-connected concept. Now that its Chromebooks have begun to really hit their stride as more and more people are constantly connected to the internet, Google has two operating systems on its hands (Chrome OS and Android) and Chromebooks are typically lacking in offline usability. Google may have been, unfortunately, too far ahead of the curve.

If Microsoft can keep its business sector devotees on board, bring this one-experience package to the market and breathe life into its app store, it may make for a rocky year for Android OEMs. Especially when keeping in mind that Microsoft now owns Nokia, so it’s capable of enforcing Apple-like standards on its mobile devices.

In closing

I hope that this article is read as an opinion piece with the intent to always demand more from our Android partners and to always question where we’ve been and we’re we are going. It is not meant to be read as a treatise against market options or support of Android simplification.

The thing that makes Android great is its versatility. It has so much opportunity and adaptability! OEMs need to be careful to not grow complacent in innovation or experimentation, nor get bogged down in profits, senseless rivalry and competition, arrogance, or fruitless and needless endeavors.

Some of my thoughts may fall into the latter. Others you may like. You have a voice and you should express it! You can start in the comments below or on social media. Thanks for reading!

 

Come comment on this article: Top 6 Reasons Why Android OEMs Should Expect Dismal Growth In 2015

Project ARA announces small update, Spiral 2 progressing well

Posted by wicked December - 22 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

A little December update from our modular phone developing friends at Project ARA – which basically says that the Spiral 2 prototype, scheduled to be shown at the Project Ara Developers Conference in January, is moving along really well. We really hope 2015 will be a big year for modular phones.

Project ARA head honcho Paul Eremenko announced via the Google Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) Google+ page that they have just received the first 3 demo units of the Spiral 2 prototype. What’s more, Eremenko confirms that the processor was able to connect to the display module after a fashion. Good news.

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The Spiral 2 prototype is mainly headlined by the Toshiba UniPro switch and ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). These allow the connection between module elements, especially the processor to the other modules.

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Speaking of the processor, Eremenko mentioned that they are working with Marvell for a PXA1928 processor module and with NVIDIA for a Tegra K1 module. That is very exciting news my friends. Hopefully we will be seeing more progress as Project ARA plans to move into the Spiral 3 prototype early next year.

SOURCE: Google ATAP
IMAGE: SlashGear

Nvidia’s Tegra K1 processor to be included in Project Ara

Posted by wicked December - 21 - 2014 - Sunday Comments Off

Project Ara crop

Google’s futuristic modular smartphone, Project Ara, is nearing its early 2015 release. As ‘early 2015’ gets closer, we’re beginning to hear more details about the device. So far, we know that we’ll be able to hot-swap most of the components, that it could potentially track users’ blood oxygen levels and that it will be sold through a Play Store-like online marketplace.

You might be familiar with talk of Toshiba providing Ara’s main processor, at least down the road a bit. It turns out Toshiba is actually providing silicone elements used on the backbone of the device, helping modules become interchangeable. So, who’s making the device’s main processor? Google explained in an update today that they will include a version of NVIDIA’s Tegra K1, the same processor found in Google’s Nexus 9, and the Marvell PXA1928. We’ll be able to see these processors running Ara devices in Google’s upcoming MDK v0.20 release.

What’s more, Google is also working with Toshiba to produce a Spiral 3 prototype which will feature a Rockchip processor that is designed specifically for the project and includes Toshiba’s UniPro bridge that lets it communicate with the other modules. We won’t get to see that prototype until the spring, though, so don’t get your hopes up that you’ll see it in early 2015.

Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until the Developer’s Conference to see all of what Google has in store for us. However, this is a big update regarding the modular device, and we’re sure many fans of the project are excited about Ara’s new-found processing power.

The NVIDIA SHIELD Holiday bundle has a bundle within the bundle

Posted by wicked December - 19 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Yep, you heard us right. It’s a meme waiting to happen, but we’ll set that aside for a moment. What’s important is that you can now get the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, the NVIDIA wireless game controller, and a bundle of games all for USD$399.

First you get a great gaming tablet, because that’s what the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet is – we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, this is probably the best gaming tablet you can get out in the market today. Granted that you’ll have to pay premium for it, but that’s what it costs to have the best specs. It’s primed with the Tegra K1 processor, still one of the baddest mobile procs out there today.

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Then you get the NVIDIA wireless mobile controller for all your gaming needs. And then NVIDIA put a bundle within the bundle – buyers of this holiday treat will get three classic Valve games: Portal, Half-Life 2, and Half-Life 2: Episode One, which we mentioned was optimized specifically for the SHIELD Tablet.

So, are you planning to splurge on something nice for yourself this holiday season? NVIDIA’s Holiday Bundle makes it difficult for it not to be part of your options for gaming.

SOURCE: NVIDIA

NVIDIA’s SHIELD Hub updated, gets Material Design love

Posted by wicked December - 17 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

The NVIDIA SHIELD mobile gaming device has been around for over a year now, gaining a cult following as one of the best mobile gaming platforms around. Today, this device is getting a relevant update to the SHIELD Hub app which serves as the game launcher platform for the device – some Material Design aesthetic and the addition of 1080p at 60FPS streaming from the device to your TV. Naturally, this update is also available for the SHIELD tablet.

The first part of the update is an aesthetic one – the graphic user interface of the SHIELD Hub launcher updated to conform to Android 5.0’s Material Design. The update does make the app more efficient use, which was a problem before due to the device’s limited screen real estate. The update now allows the app to show more of your games at once, reducing the need for constant scrolling.

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The other update concerns the use of Console Mode on the NVIDIA SHIELD device – this allows users to connect the SHIELD to a television through a WiFi network. In the past, the quality in this mode was limited, but the update has made it so that users will be able to stream 1080p content at up to 60 FPS from the SHIELD device to your TV. The caveat is that users will need to be connected to a 5 GHz 802.11n or 802.11ac network to be able to stream at 1080p.

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The update is available right now for download, just check the notifications area of your device. NVIDIA also recommends that users also update to the latest version of GeForce Experience so that they can use this release of the SHIELD Hub launcher app without any issues.

SOURCE: NVIDIA

SHIELD Hub Update Brings Material Design Makeover, Improved Connectivity to GRID

Posted by Tim-o-tato December - 16 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

An update is rolling out from NVIDIA for the SHIELD Hub app, the source of the SHIELD Tablet’s power. SHIELD Hub is the owner’s connection to NVIDIA’s servers, allowing gamers to play full PC titles over GRID, manage their game library, and browse the latest Tegra news. 

The update brings an enhanced UI, based on Material Design, as well as improved performance for gaming. More specifically, the update brings improved connectivity to NVIDIA’s GRID network, and an improved GameStream experience in console mode.

Changes are always welcome, especially when it allows for better gaming.

If you happen to own a SHIELD Tablet, go grab the update.

Play Link

Via: GeForce

SHIELD Hub Update Brings Material Design Makeover, Improved Connectivity to GRID is a post from: Droid Life

Valve’s Half-Life 2 Episode One released for the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet

Posted by wicked December - 16 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

We said it before, NVIDIA’s SHIELD Tablet is set to become one of today’s gaming powerhouses. With NVIDIA continuing in its effort to bring games exclusive to the platform – not just games, but quality ones too – more and more people are getting convinced that the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet is a legit gaming platform. Enter “Half Life 2 Episode One”, the first of three episodes that serve as a sequel to “Half Life 2” which was originally released in 2004.

Half Life 2 has already been ported exclusively for the NVIDIA SHIELD in the middle of 2014, and now NVIDIA is following this up with the sequel. Half Life 2 Episode One will be using the original Source Engine that was employed when the game was launched originally in 2006 – so this means that when you play Episode One on your SHIELD Tablet, you will need a physical controller. NVIDIA will mean for you to use the NVIDIA SHIELD Wireless Controller, of course.

SONY DSC

What’s more, if you’re targeting to buy a high-end gaming tablet for the holidays, consider the 32GB LTE NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, because they are bundling Half Life 2, Portal, and Half Life 2 Episode One as free downloads if you get NVIDIA’s “Green Box” bundle.

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That aside, the game is now available over the Google Play Store and NVIDIA’s TegraZone for USD$7.99. Most people are asking if the tablet’s hardware can run the intense graphics requirements of Half Life 2 Episode One. We would be the first to tell you that you need not worry – NVIDIA’s hardware is more than capable of running the software they’re peddling.

DOWNLOAD: Google Play Store
VIA: SlashGear

NVIDIA brings Half Life 2: Episode One to the Play Store as a SHIELD Tablet exclusive

Posted by wicked December - 15 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

halflife2-logo

NVIDIA has just brought Half Life 2 Episode One to the Google Play Store as an exclusive for the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. The title will set you back by a hefty $7.99, but that shouldn’t be much for die hard fans of Valve’s cult favorite game. The game will also require a SHIELD  controller to function as well which costs $60, so make sure you’re covered before buying the game.

NVIDIA is offering the game at no cost for recent customers of the SHIELD Tablet LTE as part of the company’s Green Box bundle which also includes Portal and Half Life 2.

Given that Valve and NVIDIA have already launched Half Life 2 and Half Life 2 Episode One for its SHIELD  devices, we can expect Half Life 2 Episode Two to make its way to the platform sometime soon as well.

If you’re a gamer and have been waiting to test the SHIELD Tablet’s true potential, these Half Life titles are the way to go. Check the gallery of screenshots below to check out some action from the game.

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halflife2ep1-2

qr code

Play Store Download Link

Come comment on this article: NVIDIA brings Half Life 2: Episode One to the Play Store as a SHIELD Tablet exclusive

Half-Life 2: Episode One now available for the NVIDIA Shield Tablet

Posted by wicked December - 15 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

half life 2 episode 1

A few weeks ago, NVIDIA announced their plans to release Half-Life 2: Episode One on the Shield Tablet. That day has finally come, and Shield Tablet owners can now download the game from Google Play for $7.99. In order to play the game, you must own both a NVIDIA Shield Tablet and a SHIELD controller.

For those who are unfamiliar, Half-Life 2: Episode One was originally released in 2006, and stands as the follow-up to the original Half-Life 2. Set in City 17, Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance fight against the Combine in an attempt to evacuate the city. This is a 2006 release, but the game looks just as good as the original, and it’s always impressive to see a console game running on a mobile platform.

If you decided to purchase the LTE variant of the Shield Tablet, you should have already received the “Green Box Bundle,” which includes free downloads of Half-Life 2, Portal, and now, Half-Life 2: Episode One. So, for all of the Wifi-only Shield Tablet owners out there, head to the Play Store to download the game for $7.99.

Are you going to pick up the game?

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