Nvidia's Shield Tablet will get a taste of Android Lollipop early next week. The OS update is due to "begin public availability" on November 18, and it's not the only new software in store for the slate. Later this month, Nvidia also plans to refresh its Dabbler and Shield Hub apps.
The stylus-optimized Dabbler 2.0 painting app sports a revamped interface based on Google's material design language. It now supports multiple layers, and virtual canvases can be saved directly to Google Drive. Another addition: Twitch streaming for artists who want to draw happy little clouds for a live audience.
The Shield Hub gets a material makeover, too, and Nvidia says the streamlined UI is even snappier than the old one. Nvidia's GRID game streaming service now has its own section on the main screen, laying the groundwork for a free preview that will be available to all Shield devices. The preview will begin in North America later this month, in Europe next month, and in Asia next year. It's due to expire on June 30, 2015.
Nvidia describes GRID as "Netflix for games," but it isn't ready to talk final pricing. The firm is, however, committed to adding more servers. Machines are already located on the west coast of the U.S., and more will be deployed on the east coast and in Europe and Asia. The game library will expand, too. 20 big-name titles are available already, and Nvidia promises weekly additions.
On the native front, Half-Life 2: Episode One is coming to Shield devices. It will be sold on the Google Play store and included in a "Green Box" game bundle for the 32GB Shield Tablet. Half-Life 2 and Portal are also part of that bundle, completing the Valve trifecta—and confirming Half-Life 3. The bundle isn't retroactive, and it won't change the 32GB tablet's $400 asking price.
A handful of other Android games have also been optimized for the Shield Tablet's Tegra K1 processor: Pure Pool from the PlayStation Vita, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath from the PS3, and Strike Suit Zero from the PC. Those titles will be available on the Play store "very shortly."