US chipmaker Nvidia has revealed its launch plans for Shield - its handheld video-games console.

It says the Android-powered device will ship to North America in June and be priced at $349 (229).

That makes it $100 more expensive than Sony's PlayStation Vita and nearly double the cost of Nintendo's 3DS XL.

One expert said Shield was unlikely to appeal to more than a "niche audience" but it would act as a showpiece for Nvidia's technology.

The console is equipped with the firm's Tegra 4 chip - its new top-end mobile processor.

The ARM-based component features 72 graphic processing unit (GPU) cores and four central processing unit (CPU) cores. Nvidia says this allows it to offer "rich graphics and unbeatable performance".

The firm is pitching its chip as an alternative to Qualcomm's popular Snapdragon processors, which are used in high-end Android devices such as Samsung's Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.

"The market for handheld consoles is struggling in face of competition from smartphones, so the first question you have to ask yourself is what is the market for a dedicated Android gaming device," Ben Parfitt, online editor at games industry trade magazine MCV, told the BBC.

"Even if you believe a market exists, $349 is a lot of money. People aren't spending that at the moment on the Wii U which is a home console, I find it hard to believe they'd spend it on a handheld."

BBC News