Alexis Santos

  • 'Star Fox' sets course for Wii U along with smaller projects from Miyamoto

    Sure, Star Fox hasn't seen a home console game of his own since the GameCube, but Nintendo has different plans for the Wii U. Time's let word slip that the Big N is releasing a game starring the anthropomorphic space canine. While there aren't many details just yet, players will use the GamePad's motion controls to aim and fire, while controlling their ship Arwing with thumbsticks. And yes, it'll still be able to transform into the land tank. In addition to the tried-and-true roving fortress, Nintendo's baked in a new helicopter-like craft. The aircraft's movements can be controlled by one player, while another takes control of shooting enemies or directing a small robot that drops down and blasts things independently.

  • Apple's Swift is a new programming language with a focus on speed and ease of use

    Apple's used Objective-C as its programming language of choice for right around 20 years now, but it's brought something new to its yearly developer conference: Swift, a new tongue of its own making. Apple describes its new lingua franca as "Objective-C without the C," but it keeps (and improves on) the speed of its progenitors. Even if you don't know what those terms mean, it's easy to pick up that apps iOS and OS X developers build with Swift should run even smoother and faster than counterparts made with the Objective-C language they've been using. According to the folks from Cupertino, Swift can be used to craft anything from social networking apps to 3D games.

  • iOS 8 apps can share data, features with each other

    Apple's annual developer conference is well underway, and it just revealed what could be a seismic shift in the iOS world: Third-party apps will soon be able talk to each other. Historically, applications on iOS have lived in their own silos, without being able to share data and features, but that's set to change in iOS 8. Apple has given developers "Extensibility" tools -- a suite of APIs, if you want to get technical -- that they can wield to let their apps share everything from documents to translation services. A demo onstage showed a Bing extension for Safari doing inline translation of a Japanese website, and using Pinterest to share a photo from a website in just a few taps.

  • Meet NASA's commercial space capsule contenders

    Sure, the Dragon V2 is the latest (and greatest) spacecraft from SpaceX, but it's not the only capsule that may one day schlep astronauts to the International Space Station. In fact, Elon Musk's firm is just one of three private outfits currently competing in a NASA program for commercial launches with their own vehicles. We've surveyed the space capsule landscape and have whipped up a primer on the future crafts that may wind up taking humans to space.

  • Samsung hopes 'respected older generations' will dig its new flip-phones

    It may be a tad ageist to presume that some older folks prefer simple flip-phones to souped-up smartphones, but Samsung isn't making any apologies. In fact, the firm's just introduced a new line of clamshell phones in South Korea aimed at "respected old generations." Dubbed "Samsung Master," the class of handsets keeps things tame (and decidedly 2008) with 2G and 3G radios, a 3-inch screen, pedometer and FM radio. Of course, even a feature phone would't be complete without some flair. Not only are the phones available in black, red and silver, but their backs and keypads wear the faux stitched leather that's become a staple in the company's more cutting edge phones, tablets and laptops. If you happen to find yourself in South Korea with 240,000 won (roughly $234) to spare, you can snap up the distinguished-looking flip-phone for yourself.

  • Far Cry 4 arrives November 18th on current, last-gen consoles and PC

    Amidst talk of its 2014 financials, Ubisoft hid a sliver of information that will please fans of open-world, first-person shooters: Far Cry 4 exists, and it's coming out this year. Ubisoft Montreal -- with the help of developers at Red Storm and the company's other dev shops in Toronto, Kiev and Shanghai -- is bringing the title to PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360 on November 18th in the US, and on November 20th in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the fourth installment of the franchise, players will roam the mountainous terrain of Kyrat, a region of the Himalayas with a "despotic self-appointed king."

  • NYC inks deal to put train tickets on smartphones

    Part of New York City's train system is set to get a 21st-century kick in the pants. Digital tickets that live on commuters' smartphones will soon be introduced thanks to a deal inked between the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Board and Masabi, one of eleven companies that offered to build such a system for the city. The pact follows a -- presumably successful -- trial conducted between Masabi and the MTA in 2012. Not every locomotive route will see paperless ticketing at first; only the Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Railroad are scheduled to be equipped with the new tech.

  • NASA finds Earth-sized planet that could support life

    NASA's Kepler telescope has discovered a veritable bounty of alien planets, but none of them have been quite like Earth -- until now. Today, the agency announced that Kepler-186f is the first confirmed Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star. In other words, it's the right size and distance from its sun to have properties similar to our planet -- namely, a rocky composition and liquid water on its surface.

  • Roku 3 update lets you search for movies and more with a smartphone

    Roku baked its comprehensive search feature into its mobile apps last month, but only folks who used it with the firm's HDMI Streaming Stick have been able to enjoy life without wielding a remote to hunt and peck for letters. Starting today, however, more of the outfit's hardware is getting some love: an update is trickling out to Roku 3 devices that'll enable the search feature with the apps. Since the company expects the software rollout to wrap up by April 22nd, it may be a while before your own box gets updated. Other Roku models are expected to snag the upgrade in the following weeks. Until then, you can use the clicker to hunt for content by actors, directors and show titles. Like an animal.

  • Unreal Engine 4 to support Windows Phone and Windows RT, but not anytime soon

    Unreal Engine 4's new $19 subscription option might be real tempting for developers on a budget, unless, of course, they're hoping to make games for Windows Phone and Windows RT. Although Epic Games' next-gen engine doesn't work with the aforementioned flavors of Microsoft's OS, that might be changing, albeit slowly. Tim Sweeney, the studio's co-founder and CEO, divulged on the company's forums that the firm's already doing legwork to support the platforms. "We have been doing some work in this direction (implementing various levels of WinRT API support) and we want to have Windows Phone support eventually, but we're a very long way from having a ship-quality implementation," Sweeney said. Still, the head honcho adds that their focus will remain on Android and iOS development before branching out to Microsoft's other flavors of Windows. Impatient devs can stick with Unreal Engine 3, but those aching for the latest tools will have to sit tight a while longer.

  • NASA captures over half the galaxy's stars in new infrared panorama

    Keeping a steady hand when snapping panoramic pictures is a valuable skill, but NASA's upstaged your photographic prowess with something a tad more impressive. Using over 2 million infrared pictures shot with the Spitzer Space Telescope over the course of a decade, the agency's created what's being called the clearest infrared panorama of our galaxy ever made. This is the first time all photographs from a project dubbed the Galactic Legacy Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire (or GLIMPSE360) have been combined into a single image. Although the final product only shows three percent of the sky, it contains over half of all stars in the Milky Way.

  • Apple now warns users of in-app purchase settings in iOS 7.1

    Sure, Apple's legal scuffle over in-app purchases made by misbehaving youngsters has ended, but the firm's added a precautionary measure to avoid additional costly mishaps. Among other changes included in iOS 7.1, Cook and Co. snuck in an alert after micro-transactions that tells users similar payments can be made for the next 15 minutes without entering their password. Of course, the notice also directs the wielder of the iOS device to adjust the restriction if it's not to their liking. The 15-minute policy is far from new, but the message is likely a welcome -- albeit tiny -- addition for parents with shopping spree-prone offspring.

  • Google's so-called mystery barge must relocate in light of permit blunder (updated)

    Sure, Google's so-called mystery barge is a little less, well, mysterious now that we know it's meant to be "an interactive space where people can learn about new technology," but the tale of its creation continues the theme of intrigue. After receiving complaints about the craft's construction, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission looked into Mountain View's project and discovered that the proper paperwork wasn't in order. As it turns out, the city of San Francisco nor the Treasure Island Development Authority, which gave Google the green light to set up shop in the bay, had applied for the permits necessary to let work begin at the raft's current location. According to Larry Goldzband, the commission's executive director, Page and Co. must move the vessel, and sending it to a permitted construction spot in the bay would do just fine. The future might not be as rosy for the Treasure Island Development Authority, however, as Goldzband says they could face fines and enforcement proceedings for stepping out of line. This isn't the first time Google's float has had a run in with government officials either. Last fall, the US Coast Guard inspected the watercraft and seems to have suggested some design changes. The paperwork blunder likely won't mean much for the barge in the long term, but we've reached out to Google for word on how they'll adjust to the troubles. Update: Google's chimed in to let us know it's still digesting the permit news: "We just received the letter from the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and we are reviewing it."

  • The Onewheel self-balancing, single-wheeled skateboard comes to CES, we take it for a spin (video)

    It's hard not to do a double-take when first laying eyes on the Onewheel. After all, it is a single-wheeled skateboard that uses an electric motor, accelerometers, gyros and a microcontroller to give riders a smooth, self-balancing ride. The contraption's creator, Kyle Doerksen, brought a prototype by the Engadget trailer here at CES, and we couldn't resist putting it through its paces. Although the unit we played with was a pre-production model that still needs refining, you can color us very impressed. If the sight of a metal frame, wooden deck and a chunky go-kart wheel didn't convey a sense of great build quality, laying hands on (and picking up) the 25-pound package drives home its heavy-duty nature. When it comes to speed, the deck can go as fast as 12 MPH, but Doerksen tells us its acceleration is software-limited to allow for better self-balancing (and maybe even to protect users from overdoing it). As for range, Onewheel can go from four to six miles on a single charge thanks to a lithium battery, and it can be juiced up in two hours -- or 20 minutes with an "ultra" charger. What's more, the gadget sports regenerative braking to recoup roughly 30 percent of expended energy. Unfortunately, the device only has about 20 minutes worth of ride time in its battery, though that changes with terrain and personal driving style.

  • Native Union's Jump charging cable can juice up your devices on the go

    It only took a little over 24 hours for Native Union's Jump, a charging cable with a built-in battery pack for juicing up on the go, to reach its funding on Kickstarter. Still, the company hasn't abandoned its booth here at CES to go out and celebrate, so we dropped in and laid some paws on the accessory. In case you need a recap, Jump consists of a central hub which contains an 800mAh battery, one braided cable with a Lightning adapter (or micro-USB) at the end, and another with a USB plug. The hardware is lightweight, easily pocketable and feels quite sturdy. Even the cords themselves feel like they can withstand a significant amount of wear and tear. While at first sight, the cables might appear as if they retract, they simply wrap around the central box and fit into small grooves. stretched from end to end, the contraption measures up at roughly 18 inches in length. On the face of the gadget sit a trio of lights that indicate the built-in battery level when a button on its rear is pressed. Not only does the device feel solid, but it's also quite smart. When plugged in, it'll make sure the gear you've connected will be charged up before topping off its own battery. While Jump will be available for $50 when it launches in May, you can snag it now through its already-successful Kickstarter campaign for $40.