Nvidia has had to delay the launch of its first-ever games console, the hand-held Android-powered Shield, as it works to address a mechanical failure in the final production models.

First formally unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Shield is a serious departure for the company: rather than relying on hardware partners buying its chips or graphics boards, Nvidia is building and selling its own retail product. Designed and built in just one year, which resulted in 14-hour workdays and a prototype finished just 10 days before deadline, the device mates a flip-up display to an Xbox 360-like control pad for on-the-go gaming.

Designed both as a retail product and to showcase Nvidia's Tegra 4 processor, the Shield hand-held is powered by Google's Android platform. Unlike rival Android gaming devices like the Ouya, however, it has a trick up its sleeve: the ability to stream games from a desktop or laptop equipped with a Kepler-based GeForce graphics processor. It's this, rather than the casual games available natively on Android, that Nvidia hopes will sell the device.

Plans to release the console in the US this month have, however, come to naught, with the company being forced to push back the launch until some time towards the end of July. 'Some quality-assurance testing has just turned up a mechanical issue that we're not happy with,' Nvidia's Jason Paul explains in a blog post on the matter. 'So, while we announced last week that Shield will go on sale this Thursday, we've taken the hard decision to delay shipping until next month.'

The fault, which has not been detailed, is being blamed on a third-party mechanical component rather than Nvidia's own engineering. 'We're working around the clock with the supplier to get it up to our expectations,' claimed Paul. 'We apologise to those who have pre-ordered Shields and to all those who are waiting for them to go on sale. But we want every Shield to be just right.'

Nvidia has planned to launch the device in North America first, then tailor its offering for international markets. As a result, the delay will have a knock-on effect to the console's as-yet unannounced availability in the UK.

Those disappointed by the delay can take solace in a price reduction: the originally-planned $349 launch price was recently dropped to $299, to better help Nvidia's nascent entry into the console market compete with the like of Sony's PlayStation Vita.
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