Snakebyte says its Unu Android console is more appealing than Nvidia's 'niche' Project Shield


Peripheral manufacturer Snakebyte is showing off its take on an Android-powered portable console, the Unu. Unlike Nvidia's Project Shield and Archos' GamePad, the Unu doesn't have physical controls mounted onto the device, instead it's going to be a four-piece solution that Snakebyte says will replace your tablet, portable console, and media streamer. For "around $199-$249," you'll get an Android tablet, a Bluetooth gamepad, a TV dock, and a gesture remote.

Included software will let you map touchscreen points to a wireless controller

Unfortunately, we'll have to take Unu's word for that: the company isn't ready to show off any final hardware, and has non-functioning prototypes on display as well as a nondescript Android tablet that it's using to show off its software layer. The Android customization is a pretty light skin that's designed to make Unu play nice with the bundled gesture remote and gamepad, offering a carousel arrangement for app management. Games will come from the Google Play store, but Snakebyte will offer its own curated store as well. For games designed for touchscreens, you'll be able to map touchscreen points to buttons on the included gamepad via an app.

Unu product developer Jens Lawrenz told us that while he wasn't able to confirm the exact specifications of the tablet, it will utilize a quad-core processor from a Chinese manufacturer such as Rockchip. The bluetooth gamepad — again a non-functional mockup — seems ergonomically sound and the buttons and triggers had a good travel to them. Our only criticism of the pad was that it's a little large, but Snakebyte says plans are in place to shrink the controller by around 10 percent to make it easier to handle.

"[Project Shield] is a niche of a niche of a niche."

We asked Lawrenz his opinion of Nvidia's Project Shield and how he felt it affected Unu's chance of success. He told us that while he was very excited and will definitely buy one, he feels that it's "a niche of a niche of a niche." He thinks the console's price point will be too high, and the way Nvidia is positioning it as a handheld console, rather than a tablet, won't attract mainstream buyers. Unu, Lawrenz says, covers all the bases — tablet, console, and smart TV. We won't have to wait too long to test company's claims: the Unu should be out in Europe in Q2, with a US release tentatively penned for Q3.

Clarification: although the mockup pictured above (for some reason) depicts Gingerbread, the Unu tablet will run Android 4.1.

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.