A new Nintendo Switch game console was announced this morning that swaps the 6.2-inch LCD screen on the existing model for a 7-inch OLED screen, among other upgrades. If you’re unaware, Nintendo Switch models are closely tied to Nividia Shield TV models because they are the two primary consumer devices that use Nvidia Tegra X1 processors. When Nintendo announced new Switch models in 2019, it was only a short time later that new Shield TV models appeared. Here’s what today’s announcement of a new top-end Nintendo Switch model might mean for future Nvidia Shield TV models.
As a quick refresher, Nvidia announced its Tegra X1 processor in early 2015 alongside the announcement of the first device that will use it, the Shield TV streaming media player running Android TV, which was released a few months later. A slightly refreshed Shield TV was announced at the start of 2017 with the same Tegra X1 processor and no hardware improvements. A few days later, the Nintendo Switch was announced with the same Tegra X1 processor, starting the link between the two devices.
In mid-2019, Nintendo announced a new Switch Lite console and a very minor hardware revision to the regular Switch. Both devices would be powered by a new Tegra X1+ processor, which Nivida claimed to be “up to 25% faster” than the existing X1 processor, even though that claim didn’t pan out in most real-world use cases. A few months later, Nvidia announced the 2019 Shield TV and 2019 Shield TV Pro, which are still the latest models today. Both 2019 Shield TV models are powered by the same Tegra X1+ processor in the two 2019 Nintendo Switch models.
Same Tegra X1+ in the new Switch doesn't bode well for a more powerful Nvidia Shield TV this year. https://t.co/a3GAumUf8H
— Elias Saba (@Elias) July 6, 2021
Nintendo has now announced the first new Switch since 2019 and, unfortunately, Nintendo has confirmed that it will have the same Nvidia Tegra X1+ processor as the existing Switch. If the new Nintendo Switch had a new processor, that would have been a strong indicator that a new Shield TV might be on the horizon, given how the processors in the two devices have always been in sync. For those curious, the only upgrades on the new Switch are the 7-inch OLED screen, built-in Ethernet on its dock, double the internal storage from 32GB to 64GB, and an improved kickstand.
Obviously, there’s still a possibility that Nividia will significantly update the Shield TV this year, despite Nintendo’s decision to stick with the same processor. Nividia has consistently updated the Shield TV in some way every 2 years (2015, 2017, and 2019) so they are certainly due to update it again later this year or early next year. However, given how COVID has delayed or postponed the release of so many things, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see a new Shield TV model until late 2022. If there is a new Shield TV released this year, I expect it will be a very minor update, akin to that of the 2017 refresh, where hardware remains the same, including the use of the same Tegra X1+ processor.