Nvidia's handheld Shield launches in June at $349

Nvidia's Android-powered handheld codenamed Project Shield will launch this June at the price of $349, now named simply Shield. Yes, that's $100 more than a PlayStation Vita. The big selling point is that it can stream proper PC games from your computer as well as running regular old Android games, but how much is that worth to you?

Shield is a mini console that combines a Xbox 360-style controller with a 5-inch, 720p, multi-touch, flip-up screen. It's powered by Nvidia's Tegra 4 mobile CPU/GPU combo with 2GB of RAM and the Jelly Bean version of Google's Android OS--plenty of muscle to run any Android app.

If you have a solid gaming PC too, you can stream games from it to Shield. It's the same sort of idea as OnLive and Gaiki, but only over local WiFi so the latency should be reasonable. The minimum spec to use that is an Intel Core i3-2100 3.1GHz CPU with 4GB of RAM and a GeForce 650 GTX. Streaming will only be in beta when Shield launches, so things may be wonky at first.

Pre-orders officially open on Monday, May 20, but anyone who signs up on the official site for notifications can from today. If they're happy to spend $349 blindly.

Nvidia has also invested in the Android microconsole Ouya.

Here's Nvidia in February, demonstrating streaming Borderlands 2 from Steam to Shield: