Nvidia hangs on to tablet market with Shield Tablet K1, aimed at gamers

Nvidia comes back after original Shield Tablet was recalled in July due to fire hazard

Nvidia is staying in the tablet market after being hit with a recall of its Shield Tablet, relaunching the device under a new name and at a lower price.

The new Shield Tablet K1 is targeted at gamers and priced at US$199 with 16GB of storage  -- $100 less than the original Shield Tablet. 

The original Shield Tablet was recalled in late July for posing a fire hazard due to overheating batteries, and the product was out of stock on Nvidia's website shortly after. The K1 was launched in response to consumer demand for Shield tablets, said Richard Parry, director of product management for tablets at the company.

There are minor changes to the new K1 tablet, compared to the original Shield Tablet. The K1 has silicon grips that will make it easier to hold. It also has a new battery, and the LTE option isn't available.

Nvidia is promising to update the tablet to the Android 6.0 OS by the end of the year.

Otherwise, the K1 is a replica of the Shield Tablet. It has Nvidia's Tegra K1 chip, a 1920 x 1200-pixel screen, and 5-megapixel front and back cameras. It offers 10 hours of battery life and weighs 390 grams (0.9 pounds). The tablet also has a micro-HDMI port, micro-SD card slot and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.

Device makers typically upgrade tablets on a yearly basis, and Nvidia could have used its new Tegra X1 chip -- announced this year -- in the K1 tablet. But the chip maker decided to use an older Tegra chip to strike a balance between features and price, Parry said.

The Tegra K1 is a key piece in Nvidia's plan to be the "Netflix of gaming," a term used by Nvidia's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang during an earnings call last week. Nvidia is providing access to its cloud-based gaming service through its tablet and products for PCs and TVs.

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