A couple of weeks back NVIDA released their Android 7.0 “Nougat” update for their original SHIELD TV. Now this week their other SHIELD devices are getting in on the action, with the release of the Android 7.0 update for the SHIELD Tablet and its Tablet K1 sibling.

Android 7.0 brings a few major changes to tablets, particularly the implementation of split-screen application mode for improved multitasking. But arguably what makes this update so noteworthy is that Android 7.0 updates for tablets have been few and far between, making this one of the few tablets to get the update so far. Other than Google’s most recent tablets such as the Pixel C and Nexus 9, and Sony’s Xperia X4 tablet, very few vendors have released updates for their tablets. Which, unfortunately, isn’t too surprising given that Android tablet sales outside of the “portable TV” segment have taken a beating.

In the SHIELD Tablet’s case things are especially interesting since this is quite likely the only Cortex-A15 powered tablet that will ever receive Google’s latest OS. This itself is something of an artifact of NVIDIA’s product strategy – the company still sells the refreshed SHIELD Tablet K1 to this day – but I have to give NVIDIA credit where it’s due since it means they’ve kept their promise to offer long-term update support for the Tablet and other SHIELD devices. Coming upon its 3rd birthday I suspect the tablet never got quite as much traction or consumer recognition as NVIDIA was hoping for, but NVIDIA’s carved out an interesting niche in a rough market by offering a mid-sized (8-inch) tablet with extended support.

In any case, the Android 7.0 update brings with it the typical slew of feature updates expected with Nougat, including the earlier mentioned multitasking features, notification changes, and the operating system’s new and better-performing JIT compiler. Along with Google’s feature changes, on the NVIDIA side of matters the update also adds support for the 2017 SHIELD peripherals, should any Tablet owners still need a(nother) SHEILD Controller.

The full patch notes are available below. The update is available now for the SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Tablet K1, while the LTE version of the original tablet is reportedly still waiting on carrier approval.

  • New Multitasking Features
    • Split-screen: Run two apps side by side* in Portrait or Landscape modes
    • Quick switch: Double tap the Overview button to quickly switch back to the last opened app
  • SHIELD Controller (2017) Support
    • Updates to SHIELD controller support
  • SHIELD Rewards Program
    • Introducing SHIELD Rewards, the exclusive loyalty program for SHIELD owners
  • Improved Notifications
    • Multiple notifications from the same app are now bundled for a streamlined experience
    • Reply to messages directly from within the notification*
    • Tap and hold on a notification to quickly silence or block notifications from the app
  • Improved Power Consumption
    • Doze on the Go: Doze is now smarter & kicks in even when the device is being carried around
  • Emoji
    • Includes all-new Unicode 9 emojis
  • Usability Improvements
    • Display & Font size can now separately adjustable to improve redability or screenspace
    • Quick Settings can now be customized directly from the menu by tapping “Edit”
    • The top Quick Setting tiles can now be accessed with a downward swipe from the lock screen
    • Settings now includes a Navigation Menu & Suggestions to improve usability
    • The “Clear all” option in Overview have been relocated to the top right
  • System wide improvements including
    • Updates to SHIELD controller support
    • New Data Saver: when enabled, limits access to Cellular data for background apps
    • New JIT complier: improves the speed of App & System updates
    • Update to Android Security Patch Level December 1, 2016

Source: NVIDIA

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  • valinor89 - Saturday, February 11, 2017 - link

    I am looking for a cheap, small tablet and I was considering the shield tablet, as even if it is old it seems to be the best in the category. I just want to replace my original nexus 7, but haven't found a replacement in that category.
    Some have bad screens, some have litle ram, some have bad processors or they are too expensive.

    I was very disappointed that ne New (as in 2016) Nexus7 rumours never materialized.
    Reply
  • jtflynnz - Saturday, February 11, 2017 - link

    I have one (the original), and it is a fine tablet. It's got some nice features (ie the stylus, used it a ton to take notes in school), has some nice gaming perks, and it is all around a solid choice. The thing I will say is that it has never been a "great" experience for me, in the sense of the fluidity of a new nexus or Samsung, however it consistently has been updated and has been a good, reliable experience. I still do think it has remained a decent performer even this much time since I have gotten it, and the battery life has improved with new versions of Android. I have to say that NVidia beat my expectations here, and all around it is a good experience for me. I think you wouldn't regret picking one up, and the 8" screen size was a nice change for a minimal tablet size increase. Reply
  • ddriver - Sunday, February 12, 2017 - link

    I wonder why and how does this merit an article? The market share of this product is almost non-existent. IMO AT should really label PAID PUBLICATIONS. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - link

    Just to be clear, this isn't an ad. If it were, it would be very clearly labeled as such. In fact the FCC mandates it, which is why the ad boxes are labeled as they are.

    I wrote about this because I thought that it was interesting that NVIDIA will likely be the only vendor to release Android Nougat for an ARMv7 Cortex-A15 device. Everything else that has received it has been ARMv8 of some kind.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - link

    I don't think advertisements and paid publications are technically or even legally identical. Also paid publications do not necessary require payment on a per-publication basis, it can just as well be more of a "subscription" kind of thing. Reply
  • varad - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - link

    I found the article interesting for the very reason Ryan mentioned. Also, I feel it makes sense to call out OEMs who do a good job providing long term support for their products. As a reader, I would like to know which OEMs provide continued support for their products so I can make a more informed decision the next time i'm in market for a tablet. Reply
  • ddriver - Thursday, February 16, 2017 - link

    I'd say nvidia's commitment to future support for this product is it is like the only one for that platform. It is easy to support a single product, it is that much more complex to provide support for dozens of products.

    So as a reader, you might want to look at the platform with the least design wins, which sounds silly, since they only fail to win designs because of their qualities. Getting stuck on android 7 rather than android 6 isn't really as beneficial as you might believe. Also, there is community support, which IMO has been actually better than what OEMs are willing to provide - longer support, more features, more customization options, no bloatware.
    Reply
  • Stochastic - Saturday, February 11, 2017 - link

    Yeah, it's disappointing that the Android tablet market remains underwhelming. I'd love to see another Nexus tablet this year, one with modern hardware, a high-quality display, and an affordable price tag ($400 or less). Reply
  • pixelstuff - Saturday, February 11, 2017 - link

    I'm a little bit afraid to buy the Shield Tablet now that it's 3 years old, but I think nVidia has convinced me that they are one of the few other than Google that will do proper updates. If they relese any new tablets I'm in, and I also plan to buy the Shield TV soon. Reply
  • jabber - Saturday, February 11, 2017 - link

    Why worry when its the only game in town? I cant remember the last serious premium Android tablet review that wasn't a silly money tech experiment by Google. Reply

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