Nvidia offered the first genuine surprise of CES 2013 as it unveiled Project Shield, a brand new Android-based mobile games console that's also capable of streaming PC games.

Speaking in the glamorous surrounds of Las Vegas' Palms hotel, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang got to grips with its own vision of the future of mobile gaming.

After unveiling details of the well-leaked Tegra 4 processor, the Nvidia CEO promised something unexpected and certainly didn't disappoint.

Opening with a video showing off a concept device we've often seen suggested by tech companies (but never see the light of day), Huang proceeded to pull the actual hardware out and show a live demonstration of the device playing both single and multiplayer games, 4K Ultra-HD movies and browsing the web.

Resembling a slightly bulkier Xbox-style controller, the device was described by Huang as 'pure Android' and allows users to download and play games from either the TegraZone and Google PLAY, or stream and play high-quality PC games delivered via Steam.

Although no specific launch details were provided on the launch date or any idea of price, or indeed the final name, Huang's initial slip-up in first using the word Thor to refer to the device suggests the final name could be either this or Shield.

Of course it's far too earlier to say whether this device will be a hit or even a desirable option, but together with innovations such as GameStick and Ouya it does at the very least suggest an exciting year in prospect for Android gamers, and maybe a few more sleepless nights for Sony and Nintendo execs.

So what are the full details of Project Shield?

Powered by Nvidia's new Tegra 4 chipset, Shield blows away every Android device on the market, as well as the iPad, with its 72 GPU cores and a quad-core A15 processor. A new software modem also allows over the air updates to bring new connectivity options as time goes on.

The key feature is of course the console-grade controller, featuring bumpers, D-pad and other triggers – plus a dedicated Shield button to switch from the native Android mode to the Nvidia gaming menu. From here, you can enjoy the latest Tegra 4 HD games on the 5-inch 1280x720 pixel screen, or play games streamed from the cloud or even your home PC.

For future proofing, there's expandable storage space, HDMI out (including the power to output '4k' Ultra HD material) and enough power for up to over five hours of gameplay between charges.

The audio experience is improved with stereo speakers, featuring a twin-port custom bass reflex that adjusts to the surrounding conditions. Finally, customisable tags allow owners to personalise their Shield, making it possible to distinguish one device from another.

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