Lonely and living in the city, but don't have the patience or maturity for Man's Best Friend? Well, you could always take a TankBot under your wing. Desk Pets' palm-sized four-wheeler first whirred into our hands earlier this year at the International Toy Fair, promising a variety of play modes and iOS control. Now, the team behind the roving gizmo has finally released it to retailers' shelves, tacking on a $25 price tag and adding Android compatibility. The mini-bot operates in a trio of configurations: an autonomous mode that makes use of its infrared sensors to navigate obstacles, a free-roaming option that'll have it wandering aimlessly and, most importantly, a free mobile app that puts dual joystick control on your Apple device's screen or universal remote (connected via headphone jack) for steering on an Android phone. Don't expect to squeeze hours of fun out of this little tchotchke, though, as its retractable USB port only gets you about 15 minutes of gee whizzery. Skip past the break to watch a video demo of the lil' guy en vivo.

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Desk Pets International Deploys TankBot, Available Nationwide at Radio Shack and Toys "R" Us
20 Sep 2011

Interactive micro-robotic tank features 3-modes, including maze solving, free-roaming, and smartphone control

Toronto, Canada – (September 20, 2011) – Desk Pets International (HK) Limited, creator of interactive micro-robotic toys and gadgets with big-play value, unveils TankBot, winner of Popular Science's Best of Toy Fair 2011. Three interactive modes allow TankBot to navigate mazes, free-roam, and be fully controllable by your Apple iOS or Android mobile device. Featuring a built-in USB charger, battery cost is non-existent, giving TankBot hours of inexpensive playtime. Available today for $24.99 at Radio Shack and Toys "R" Us nationwide.

Equipped with a variety of play modes, sounds and maneuvers, TankBot has a personality all its own. In autonomous maze solving mode, infrared sensors allow it to navigate twist, turns and around obstacles with military precision. Set TankBot to free-roaming mode and watch it take the helm, acting under its own direction while providing various sounds including aggressive growls, impatient honks and in the rare case it tips over, even a helpless cry. With Desk Pet's free downloadable iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android mobile device application, users can fully control TankBot with their mobile device. Using the Apple iOS, dual joystick steering allows realistic tank maneuvers by powering left and right tracks individually. Each TankBot comes with an iDesk Pets universal remote that easily plugs into the headphone jack of your mobile device. Once connected, the application is compatible with TankBot, as well as Desk Pets current products SkitterBot and TrekBot.

Desk Pets International Managing Directors, David Piltz and Michael Trzecieski have high hopes for TankBot as we head into the holiday season. "TankBot's smartphone compatibility and multiple modes, coupled with budget friendly USB charging and a sub-$25 price point, make it a great stocking stuffer for the holidays," says Piltz. Michael Trezcieski points to its interactive play and military like maneuvers that set it apart. "In free-roam mode you can block it with your hands and watch it aggressively attack or decide to turn and run. The maze solving mode is incredibly accurate, with complete autonomous navigation TankBot can solve any puzzle you can come up with."

TankBot features include:

Fully controllable by iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android mobile device application Autonomous mode uses IR sensors to navigate mazes, avoid obstacles, and react with military precision
Free roaming mode with various sounds
Retractable USB charger built into body of the product, 40 minutes of charge = 15 minutes of play
Flashing heartbeat eyes pulse when robot is idle
Each color (orange, blue, black, and green) operates on own frequency, allowing for multi-player racing and battling