Sphero BB-8 Is the App-Enabled Droid You Are Looking For

Touted as one of the most innovative pieces of merchandise to come from Disney, the Sphero BB-8 app-enabled droid is not only a joy to look at, but also one to play with.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens might seem to follow the trend of bringing successful franchises from decades ago back to the silver screen, but it’s far more than that. Sure, they might have went a bit too far with the Swiss knife-inspired lightsaber, but there’ll still be plenty of things to enjoy. One particular aspect of the previous Star Wars films were the droids. Subjects to numerous hilarious scenes, C3-PO and R2-D2 are now replaced with the oddball that is BB-8. This particular toy means to find its way not only to the big screens, but also in the homes of Star Wars fans, in the form of a robotic toy.

As a Jedi wannabe, you won’t be entrusted with a lightsaber anywhere near this toy, so you will have to pretend that your smartphone is one. Since we’re in 2015, there are no miniature wheels hidden under the robot to help it move around. Instead, the very sphere its head sits on rotates to take BB-8 places. That exact way of movement is what differentiates Sphero’s droid from all the other toys out there. Pictured above is the app-enabled BB-8 in its induction charging base. Of course this toy charges wirelessly! It will still be necessary to plug the included microUSB cable into the base.

As far as the companion app is concerned, there are versions of it both for Android and iOS, so you shouldn’t worry about buying a specific smartphone just to play with this toy. According to the manufacturer, a full charge should provide an entire hour of play.

The app makes use of Bluetooth connectivity for controlling the droid’s movement, and for making it react to your voice. On top of that, Sphero’s BB-8 is capable of holographic communication, meaning that it can record and playback virtual holographic videos. Now, that is definitely something you don’t to see everyday in sci-fi merchandise.

One of the best things about this toy BB-8 is that it has an adaptive personality. In other words, it will develop a unique attitude, and it will make certain actions, depending on how you interact with it.

Since it moves around at a maximum speed of 4.5 mph (7ft/s), Sphero’s BB-8 should be safe when bumping into things, due to its durable polycarbonate shell. Not sure what would happened if it fell on the stairs, but that’s a different story.

Last month, when I first mentioned this great toy, it was barely available anywhere else but on the manufacturer’s website, but since then, it has been picked up by several resellers. The Sphero BB-8 app-enabled droid is currently priced at $149.99 on Amazon, to which you might have to add shipping costs.

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