Mod Your SHIELD: Why We’re Releasing Open Source Software for SHIELD

by Andrew Edelsten

Most gaming devices are black boxes. You use the games and apps the device’s manufacturer approves. No tinkering. End of story.

That’s not where we wanted to go with SHIELD, which began shipping last week. That’s why we’ve released the open-source code developers and modders can use to customize SHIELD’s entire operating system.

So, just to recap, this is a device you already can use to play mobile games, watch movies, and listen to music. You can stream games from your PC with our PC Game Streaming feature, now in BETA. You can even use it to fly an AR.Parrot drone.

Experts Only
Experts only: if you’ve got the skills, we’ve got some thrills.

But if you’re not content with what SHIELD can do out of the box, we invite you to build out SHIELD’s capabilities in any way you wish. To be sure, this is double-diamond stuff. If you’re not a coder or already set up with an Android development environment you should skip downloading these tools and perhaps just check out what the amazing XDA community can do instead.

And yes, our warranty policy does allow us to reject returns if a device has been rooted or a boot loader has been unlocked. Our goal here isn’t to discourage people from rooting their devices – it’s yours, after all  – but to give us a course of action if folks start to abuse the hardware through software modifications.

Ready to dive in? Head over to our “Develop for SHIELD” page. Then, grab the “SHIELD Open Source and Binary Driver Release.” You’ll find both a preinstalled factory OS image and the latest over-the-air (OTA) update. Don’t worry if you mess things up: we’re also providing a binary recovery image you can use to restore SHIELD to its stock software configuration.

Image, above, by Greg Younger