NVIDIA SHIELD Portable Gains Chromecast Support With Android 5.1 Update

For a minute there, we thought maybe NVIDIA had forgotten all about its Shield Portable, its promising handheld game console released a couple of years ago. And if you own one, you might have thought that too -- after all, software updates have slowed to a crawl after seeing half a dozen upgrades last year. Ah, but good things come to those who wait, and for your patience, you're being rewarded Lollipop.

After doling out a rather small and optional software update to SHIELD Portable devices last February, one that simply offered to improve stability and smoothness for emulators, it's been eerily quiet. Turns out that NVIDIA was working on a bigger upgrade, one that leapfrogs Android 5.0 and brings Lollipop in Android 5.1 form to SHIELD handhelds.

Shield Portable

Before you rush out and grab it, there are some things you should know. The first is that the upgrade to Android 5.1 Lollipop breaks compatibility with several apps and features. If you update to the latest release, you'll permanently lose Sonic 4: Episode II THD, Expendable: Rearmed, and the Android browser. You can also wave goodbye to Miracast support (boo!), though in its place the Shield Portable gains support for Chromecast (hooray!)

The update also includes a newer build of Twitch that's compatible with Android 5.1. It will be indicated by a white icon. If you previously updated to the Twitch app on KitKat (purple Twitch icon), you'll see both icons after the update. NVIDIA says to go ahead and erase the purple Twitch icon after updating to Lollipop, as the old version will no longer be supported.

What happens if you give Lollipop a lick and decide you were happier munching on KitKat? No worries, NVIDIA has provided a recovery image that will let you roll back. Just be warned that you do roll back, you'll lose all previous data on your SHIELD Portable.