There is no doubt about it, the AR Drone looks like a seriously fun piece of kit. Unfortunately, however, it been an iPhone/iPad exclusive since launch until now that is. Android owners dust off your wallet and break out the credit card because the AR Drone is now available for you too!
The AR Drone in case you haven’t seen it is an indoor/outdoor remote-controlled helicopter, or if you want to get technical a quadcopter. Unlike a helicopter it has 4 rotors that provide the lift and steering, the additional rotors also make it much easier to control, and with less of that unpredictable wobble factor. But what makes the AR Drone so much fun is it that it is fitted with not 1 but 2 cameras. The first camera provides a forward-facing view while the second points down to show what’s directly below, perfect for those aerial snapshots or incursions into the neighbor’s garden.
To control the drone you’ll need a smartphone, either something running iOS or Android. Once connected via WiFi the phone will act as the controller providing you with the steering as well as the live camera feed from the drone. While that’s awesome enough, there are around 10 AR Drone applications available in the Android Marketplace. The current batch of apps includes stats about your flight (eg height, distance, speed), create automatic fight paths for your drone to follow, or race your drone against friends.
iOS has slightly more applications available including a true augmented reality game where you race around one of five virtual circuits. I’m sure its only a matter of time before it hits the Android.
The only downside to the AR Drone is the cost. It will set you back around £240 which is by no means cheap. But it is fair to say that this is not a toy, it’s a serious piece of flying kit that also enables a realistic game experience. I’ll get my hands on one and give you the full review soon.