Anki Drive, the slot-car racing game for the mobile era, is finally launching on Android and dropping in price just in time for the holiday shopping season. Sometime in October, Anki Drive shed its iOS exclusivity and will launch on Android and work with select Android phones.
Available today, the Starter Kit now costs just $149.99 from Anki.com, and it will be available at Amazon, Apple stores, Best Buy, GameStop and other select retailers later this week.
Anki Drive launched with as much fanfare as possible when the gaming system was shown off at Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote. The system beautifully showcased what’s possible with iOS by allowing players to control tiny motorized race cars with their phones. Yet Anki Drive hasn’t exploded in popularity — perhaps, because of its iOS exclusivity and lack of retail support, both of which have now been addressed.
However, at launch, Android and iOS users cannot play together. There is no cross-platform play because the Android versions uses Wifi while the iOS app communicates with Bluetooth LE.
The company is also launching a new car and iOS app update, which adds a team mode to the system that allows drivers to team up to battle a computer-controlled racer. The new car, Spektrix, comes with a chameleon-ish paint scheme and will be available from anki.com later today and retail partners later this week.
Earlier this year, Anki rolled out a significant update to the platform, adding an improved AI, a new race mode and started selling two new tracks, thus demonstrating its core strength of reinventing and updating its physical products. Since the processing power of the Anki Drive is outsourced to a connected mobile device, the company can push firmware that updates and addresses bugs and features. You can’t do that with the slot cars you had as a kid.