Nvidia's new Shield Android TV, AI Spot tap power of Google Assistant

The new TV streaming box is available this month for $199, while the artificial intelligence mic will be on sale later.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang shows off the company's new device, an artificial intelligence mic called the Nvidia Spot.

James Martin/CNET

Nvidia wants to make your home smarter, and it's doing it with the help of Google.

CEO Jen-Hsun Huang on Wednesday introduced new devices that tap into the Google Assistant, the virtual software that lets you do things like control your lights or search for a TV show by speaking the commands out loud. The new products include the updated Nvidia Shield Android TV, which costs $199 including a controller and remote and is available later this month, and the new Nvidia Spot, a remote AI mic. The Spot mic will cost $49.99.

"We thought, why have two devices when you can have one?" Huand said during a keynote at CES in Las Vegas. "We decided to work with Google to create the world's first Android TV with the Google Assistant."

Nvidia made its name designing graphics chips computers. But over the past couple years, the Santa Clara, California, company has branched out into new markets like automotive and artificial intelligence. Success in its new industries made Nvidia the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 last year.

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The Nvidia Spot pricing and availability information hasn't yet been announced.

James Martin/CNET

Nvidia surprised the crowd at CES 2013 with its first Shield gaming device. The product marked the company's first steps into providing an actual product to consumers other than chips -- and it came at a time others, like Sony, were struggling to compete with Apple. Since that time, Nvidia has introduced gaming tablets and an Android TV streaming box, all under the Shield name.

It has had some missteps, though. In mid-2015, Nvidia recalled the vast majority of the Shield tablets it had sold because of a battery issue. It's unclear how well the Shield line of products has sold.

Along with integrating the Google Assistant, the new Shield Android TV includes support for 4K HDR with the catalogs of Amazon and Netflix, as well as YouTube, Google Play Movies and VUDU. A Pro version of Shield will be available later this month with controller, remote with headset jack and 500GB of storage. A separate version of Shield, with custom software for China, will be available later this year.

The Nvidia Spot, meanwhile, is a round device that you can attach to a wall in different rooms in your house, so the Google Assistant can hear you wherever you are.

Update at 9 a.m. PTon January 5 with Spot pricing.