By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Chipmaker Nvidia said it will start shipping a hand-held gaming device in June, a bid to use its appeal with PC game enthusiasts to challenge console makers like Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp.
SHIELD, which was announced in January and uses Nvidia's Tegra 4 mobile processors, will be priced at $349, the company said in a release on Tuesday.
Nvidia's graphics chips are well-known to twenty-something fans who deck out their desktop computers with high-end components in order to get the best out of first-person shooters and other games.
The Santa Clara, California company hopes some of those customers will also be drawn to SHIELD, which has a pop-up retina display and runs the same games available on Android tablets and smarpthones.
With personal computer sales suffering due to a growing consumer preference for tablets, Nvidia has staked its future on using its PC graphics expertise to make high-performance processors for mobile devices.
Building its own game device to showcase its processors goes a step further and underscores the urgency of finding new markets as Nvidia faces tough competition from Qualcomm in smartphones and tablets.
A SHIELD feature that Nvidia has touted that can stream video games from PCs is being offered in a test, non-official version, the company said.
(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Bernard Orr)