Why it matters: Nvidia’s beloved Shield TV is a powerful box that fills the same niche and price point as the Apple TV, but with great support to stream games from a desktop PC and play Android games on the same Tegra X1 chip that powers the Nintendo Switch. It’s been two years since its last update, and now it appears a new version will be arriving soon.
Deep within the Google Play Developer Console’s Device Catalogue has appeared a new Shield TV device codenamed “mdarcy,” as spotted by XDA Developers. The previous Shield is codenamed “darcy,” and the main difference in the listings is that mdarcy supports Android 9 Pie, while darcy is still on Android 8 Oreo. However, it could come with new internals and peripherals.
Developers working on the Tegra kernel have told XDA Developers that they believe the new processor and GPU combo will reportedly have “better power usage” and a “higher maximum GPU clock” providing a noticeable boost in performance. That’s certainly useful given the increase in popularity of intense mobile games, notably Fortnite and PUBG mobile, and it’s also coherent with other leaks we’ve seen suggesting a refreshed Tegra could arrive in a new Nintendo Switch this year. If Nvidia is producing it for Nintendo, why not take advantage of it themselves?
Four months ago, a custom ROM developer peaking inside Nvidia’s public source release discovered references to “stormbreaker,” a Bluetooth and USB controller, and “friday,” a Bluetooth remote. Both referenced the Shield TV in their code and are in line with previous Nvidia peripheral codenames like “thunderstrike” and “pepper.” At the time, an Nvidia spokesperson said, “We can’t comment on which codenames refer to product concepts that are active vs which ones are inactive, as it can be fluid. However, I can confirm that none of the codenames refer to products that have launched publicly.”
The time is certainly ripe for a new TV device. While the Shield can already use Nvidia’s Geforce Now game streaming platform, a new version could easily be equipped to utilize Google’s Stadia (arriving in November) or Microsoft’s mysterious xCloud. Given the listing, the new Shield will most likely arrive this year, and could possibly be revealed in conjunction with Nvidia’s “Super” announcement due in the next month or so.