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NVIDIA's SHIELD will not be arriving tomorrow as planned, the hardware company announced today. The handheld gaming device has suffered a last-minute delay due to a manufacturing issue.

"We’re grateful for all the enthusiasm that’s been expressed for SHIELD, our new portable gaming device. And we’re eager to get it into your hands," NVIDIA project manager Jason Paul said in a new blog post. "But we won’t do that until it’s fully up to the exacting standards that NVIDIA’s known for. And some final quality-assurance testing has just turned up a mechanical issue that we’re not happy with. 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 delay announcement comes about a week after NVIDIA sprang the release date on us. They announced a price cut at the time as well. The handheld will now be sold for $299 instead of the previous $349 price point.

The mechanical issue in question is due to a third-party component. NVIDIA says that they're working with their supplier to fix the issue. In the comments section of the blog post, NVIDIA's Brian Caulfield added that this issue wasn't present in pre-production SHIELD units.

"We apologize to those who have preordered SHIELDs and to all those who are waiting for them to go on sale," Paul said. "But we want every SHIELD to be just right."

The NVIDIA SHIELD is a portable gaming and entertainment device powered by the company's new Tegra 4 processors. It's designed for both mobile and home gaming. The body of the SHIELD is essentially a console controller with a touchscreen attached to the top. It's loaded with the latest version of the Jelly Bean OS from Google, enabling users to download and run any Android apps or games. You can also stream PC games to the device from your home computer via Wi-Fi, though that feature is currently in beta and will only support a select group of games and Internet routers. If you're looking to take a break from gaming, you can run Hulu Plus on the device.

NIVIDIA didn't provide a new release date for the SHIELD. Whenever the device arrives, I'll be watching with great interest. I'm really curious whether the SHIELD can find an audience. Will and I have both expressed skepticism about whether it fills a need for gamers. The PC game streaming means that that you can't use the feature on the go. If you have to be home to use the device, well, why wouldn't you just use your PC or a console? Compared to other portable devices, the SHIELD isn't as versatile as a tablet or smartphone and not as robust a gaming device as a Vita or 3DS.

People are pre-ordering, though. Hopefully these early adopters don't have to wait too long for the SHIELD to hit their mailbox. And hopefully the device turns out to be worth the price.

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