Anki's Vector robot launched in October. The little guy is certainly cute, and it's always had a useful trick or two; it can tell you the temperature outside or set timers, for example. But starting next week in the US and Canada, Vector is getting a whole lot more practical with the addition of Alexa functionality.
In late 2016, San Francisco-based robotics company Anki released Cozmo, a robotic toy brimming with personality. The little guy looked like something out of Wall-E, with its curious animation and expressive digital eyes. Now, Anki's back at it with a new tiny robot named Vector that clearly shares Cozmo's DNA, but promises more functionality.
The original Vector was a hit when it came out a few years ago, and now the developer has released Vector 2. The gameplay is similar to the first one, but the upgrade system is much more extensive. It's actually a little confusing. Such is the cost of progress, I suppose.
The first Android Studio v1.4 preview release came out just a short six weeks ago, and now it's moving into the Stable channel, right on schedule. The features remain largely the same as the original v1.4 preview, but a ton of bugs have been fixed and a few of the capabilities have been improved in some awesome ways.
With the official stable release of Android Studio v1.3 a couple of weeks ago, it's time to begin testing the next string of new features. The first preview release of version 1.4 is now in the Canary channel, and it's sporting some big new features. The Android Tools team has been working on the new theme editor first demonstrated in the I/O session titled What's New in Android Development Tools. There are also new performance monitors for GPU and network activity, a vector asset wizard for turning SVG files into XML vector drawables, and a few new lint checks.
Here is the Google I/O session video cued up to the beginning of the theme editor demo at 36 minutes:
The new theme editor examines the styles in a project and displays visual samples of what controls should look like on a live interface.
Adobe, would you just pick a version of Photoshop for Android and stick with it? After unceremoniously dumping the conventional image editor Photoshop Touch last month and leaving us with the more Instagram-style Photoshop Express, Adobe has now released Photoshop Mix on the Play Store after a period of iOS exclusivity. This app is more powerful than Express, but less powerful than Touch, and attempts to bring a more manageable interface to phones.
In particular the new app has selection tools and basic layer functionality, meaning it's suitable for at least some advanced image editing functions beyond mere touch-ups and filters.
It's that time again. Another bundle of games has hit the web courtesy of the Humble Bundle folks, and as always, they're charging the sweet price of whatever-you-feel-like-paying. There are six games up for grabs this time around, with two requiring you to pay over the average.
Regardless how much you pay, the Humble Bundle will let you walk out with a digital version of the popular board game Catan ($3.99), the jetski racer Riptide GP2 ($2.99), the parkour simulator Vector ($0.99), and that game where you shoot zombies from the comfort of an AC-130 gunship - Zombie Gunship ($0.99).
There have been plenty of 2D side-scrolling action platformer games on Android, but Vector tweaks that formula in a really engaging way. You have to escape from the insidious clutches of "Big Brother" using your freerunner skills. Vector is essentially an amalgamation of Canabalt and Mirror's Edge. If that doesn't get you interested, you must not like games.
All the controls are handled through simple swipes to jump, slide, sprint, and dodge. You've got to time things right so you pick up coins and avoid obstacles. There is also a nasty thug right on your tail, and he's perfectly happy to take you out if you falter during your getaway.