Nvidia might release a new Shield tablet with Tegra X1 in March
When Nvidia's Tegra X1 SoC was announced at CES 2015, many people expected a new Shield tablet unveiled alongside it, but the company instead talked about the chip's potential applications in self-driving cars, drones and robots. This obviously disappointed some gamers considering the Shield lineup either for native Android gaming or for streaming games from their PCs. Things are starting to look up for them now that there are reports of Nvidia working on an updated Shield tablet after all.
Naturally, very little is known about the specifications at this point, except the display size, which is said to remain at 8 inches. The rest of the speculation has to be based on the known capabilties of the Tegra X1. According to Nvidia, the new 20 nm SoC provides a large increase in performance and energy efficiency over both of its direct predecessors (Tegra K1 and its Denver version) and the competing SoCs like Apple's A8X. Its 256-core Maxwell-based graphics processor was shown to be capable of running Unreal Engine 4 Elemental demo, making it a very promising gaming platform. Obviously, Ultra HD 4K (3840x2160) video (H.265) playback at 60 fps will be a breeze for the chip, but it's doubtful that the new Shield's display will utilize Ultra HD resolution. At Full HD, Tegra X1 can drive a 120 Hz refresh rate but that's not likely to be supported by a tablet display either. Potential buyers can count on 4G/LTE, however - that feature is already present in the LTE version of the current Shield tablet. It's also likely that Wi-Fi 802.11ac will be added to facilitate higher-quality streaming.
Since the existing Shield tablet has already received an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop, we also expect the upcoming generation to ship with it. With rumors of the official reveal scheduled for March, it's logical to assume that the device will be shown at the MWC exhibition in Barcelona.