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NVIDIA first announced their handheld gaming console SHIELD at CES 2013, which was held in January. At the time, the device was known as Project SHIELD, but, as things go, NVIDIA has since dropped the "project" part of the name. Now the company has sent out press releases announcing that the device will soon be available for pre-order

SHIELD isn't like most portable gaming devices, instead resembling an actual portable console. The controller is attached to a flip-up 720p HD display, which is all powered by Android and a Tegra 4 mobile processor.

The SHIELD will be available at GameStop, Micro Center and Canada Computers locations starting in June, retailing for $349. Pre-orders will go live on May 20th, next Monday, at shield.nvidia.com as well as partner sites. Check out the full press release below and feel free to leave us a comment telling us why you are or aren't excited about the SHIELD.

Full Press Release »

A console-grade controller. A high-definition, 720p HD retinal display. The rich graphics and blazing performance of Tegra 4 – the world’s fastest mobile processor.

These pieces, put together by a company full of gaming fanatics, add up to an amazing new open platform gaming portable. It’s the best way to play Android games. And because it’s an Android device, it works with both Tegra-optimized and regular Android games – as well as Android apps.

Project SHIELD is now, officially, SHIELD. The price is $349. Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center and Canada Computers will all carry SHIELD. It ships in June.

SHIELD is a new kind of portable.

Pre-order will go live on May 20th from the partners listed above, and on shield.nvidia.com. Fans who have signed up to receive SHIELD updates by clicking “Notify Me” on the SHIELD website will have an exclusive opportunity to pre-order starting today.

If you’re an Android gamer, this will fit into your life the moment you open the box.

SHIELD is the one device that taps into the planet’s largest ecosystem of games — spanning NVIDIA TegraZone, Google Play and Steam. Rediscover your Android games with the mobility, control and performance of SHIELD. Connect to your Google Play account to enjoy your favorite movies, music and apps.

And GeForce game streaming, launching as a beta feature, will give SHIELD the power to access your NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU-powered computer from the comfort of your couch. We’re working on streaming your favorite PC games to SHIELD, including great titles from Steam.

Here’s what you’ll get:

Tegra 4 – The world’s fastest mobile processor delivers rich graphics and unbeatable performance thanks to 72 GPU cores, four CPU cores and 2GB of RAM
Console-grade controller – Precise control thanks to dual analog joysticks, a full-sized D-Pad, left and right analog triggers, full-sized bumpers and A/B/X/Y buttons
Multi-touch display – 5-inch, 720p retinal multi-touch display for high-fidelity visuals
Integrated speakers – Custom, bass reflex, tuned port audio system – we think this is SHIELD’s sleeper feature
Wi-Fi – 802.11n 2X2 MIMO game-speed Wi-Fi for game streaming
Pure Android – Latest Android Jelly Bean operating system from Google, for access to Android games and apps
There’s more – We put into SHIELD everything we would want in a premium mobile gaming device: 16 GB memory, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, a mini-HDMI output, micro-USB 2.0, a microSD storage slot, a 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack. See the full spec sheet, here.
To everyone who’s been following SHIELD, thank you. This is going to be fun.