NVIDIA has already provided a brief teaser showing what Android 5.0 Lollipop will look like on the SHIELD tablet and that we could expect it this month, but today they are reaffirming that commitment along with some other updates surrounding the SHIELD tablet.
Android 5.0 and Material Design
The Lollipop update, still due out later this month, will bring with it not only a nearly stock install of Android 5.0, but it also delivers the material design language to their own apps with updates to both the Dabbler app and SHIELD Hub.
Dabbler is the pre-installed drawing app found on the SHIELD tablet which takes advantage of the DirectStylus and the Direct Touch 2.0 found in the SHIELD tablet. If you haven’t tried it previously, the level of pressure sensitivity they have achieved without using an active stylus is really remarkable. And while I haven’t used the updated Dabbler app yet, it looks like the new design will make the app much more user friendly and turn the SHIELD tablet into a solid sketching option.
SHIELD Hub will also be receiving a material design makeover. This app offers you quick access to your Android and PC games along with any media apps you have installed. If you are already familiar with this app, you’ll notice that there is now a “GRID” option in the menu, which brings us to NVIDIA’s next announcement.
As NVIDIA puts it, the GRID gaming service is basically like “Netflix for games.” If you own a SHIELD device but don’t have a PC that can leverage the GAME STREAM functionality, then this is what will bring high-end PC titles to your SHIELD. GRID currently includes 20 titles like Borderlands 2, Batman Arkham City and Psychonauts, and the lineup is continually expanding.
GRID was previously only available in San Jose, but it is expanding to nationwide coverage in the U.S. this month with servers in Oregon and Virginia and will be expanding to western Europe in December, with Asia to follow in Q2 next year. The GRID service is going to remain free for SHIELD tablet and SHIELD portable owners through June 30, 2015. No word yet on pricing after the free trial period as run out.
“Green Box” Deal
PC Gamers will have no trouble guessing what this deal refers to. Valve has already made Half-Life 2 and Portal available on SHIELD and now Half-Life 2: Episode One is joining them. All three titles will be bundled for free on the 32GB LTE version of the SHIELD tablet.
New SHIELD-Optimized Games
There are currently 20 Tegra K1-optimized titles and over 400 titles that are touch and controller optimized. A few notable additions coming soon are OddWorld: Stranger’s Wrath, Pure Pool and Strike Suit Zero.