What's old is new again, and what's new is spreading. The digital assistant is back, but this time it's a hand-held organizer app from Google. Meanwhile, drone technology is spreading across the U.S. and Canada, and wireless charging advancements could start leaking from the Magic Kingdom.

 

Google Assistant Sees Wide Release

Don't confuse this digital assistant with the palm-sized organizers that became symbols of success two decades ago. The Google Assistant is an app that the company will let run on non-Google devices.

 

Don't Use Android In-App Billing APIs Alone

For those about to monetize, we salute you. We also suggest reading this piece by Opera Software developer Sergey Solovyev about the pitfalls using just the Android APIs to implement in-app purchases.

 

Disney Researchers Build Wireless Charging Room

Researchers at Disney give new meaning to the phase "go to your room" with news that the group has developed a chamber that will deliver "ubiquitous wireless power" to devices that enter the room.

 

What Do Unit Tests Say About Android Activities?

People building Android apps using Activities and Fragments (and who isn't?), probably aren't doing a whole lot of Unit Testing. This piece is for those who question why, and vows to help fix it.

 

Get Ready for Nougat and the FileProvider Intent

Apps built for KitKat and higher have enjoyed the "file://" URI syntax for years. Ennova Group's Lorenzo Quiroli explains how to use Nougat's intent-based file sharing and maintain (or fix) backward compatibility.

 

Artificial Intelligence Holds Its Own at Texas Hold'em

Die-hard poker players might cry "foul" at Libratus, Carnegie Mellon's artificial intelligence system that defeated four poker pros last month. The reason? It's impossible to tell when a computer is bluffing.

 

Why Poker is the Holy Grail of AI

It's one thing to teach a computer how to win a game show, in which correct answers can usually be found on the internet. But as this MIT Tech Review piece explains, poker play is not an exact science, and teaching a computer why the best hand doesn't always win has until now been among the most vexing issues.

 

Hospital Fined $3.2M After Losing a Device

Some asset intelligence might have helped the Children's Medical Center of Dallas, which lost a device in 2009 that was found to be in violation protocols set forth by HIPAA, the U.S. law governing healthcare and patient data protections.

 

UPS Drone Demo Didn't Go As Planned

The Canadian United Parcel Service is developing a drone program to simplify delivery logistics in rural areas. But the company's octo-copter nearly got crushed in its inaugural flight before the media.

 

Another Ground-breaking Flight Simulator: Microsoft AirSim for Drones

Hard to believe it was 1982 when Microsoft released its first Flight Simulator, setting the bar for all that would follow. Now the company taking flight with drones, and an open source development kit is intended to help developers do the same.

 

Verizon is Going Skyward with Drone Acquisition

If Verizon has its way, drones will not only be part of future skylines, they'll also have LTE capabilities. The telecom giant last month acquired commercial drone software maker Skyward, calling the move a part of its strategy of "in-flight wireless connectivity through our Airborne LTE Operations initiative."