If you loved the original Parrot AR Drone but couldn't afford hundreds of dollars to spend on a flying remote-control quadcopter, here's hoping you've been saving your pennies for the last year. The second iteration of the smartphone-controlled Drone has been confirmed for a May release. Even better, you can reserve your very own starting tomorrow, March 1st. Brookstone has the exclusive pre-order page, so check their website tomorrow if you're interested.
If you need a quick refresher, the AR Drone 2.0 is a quad-copter about the size of a large RC car. You can control it via your Android smartphone's WiFi connection with their special app. The Drone has a front-mounted 720p video camera that you can view remotely on your phone, not to mention record the video stream. The biggest improvement in the second revision is the FreeFlight control system. With the original, the drone's controls stayed relative to its own direction, so you had to adjust it just like an RC car. With FreeFlight, the Drone's controls are relative to the pilot: you turn left, the drone turns left, no matter which way it's facing.
Check out our hands-on footage of the AR Drone 2.0 from CES last month:
We don't know how much the Ar Drone 2.0 will cost, but since the original retails for $300, expect it to be the same or only slightly more expensive. Pricey for a toy, certainly, but it's got some pretty amazing features - and with that padded bumper, it's likely to survive at least one attack from your favorite household pet. Tinkerers take note: Parrot sells a host of replacement parts and visual modifications, so if that's your bag, save a little extra for the side goodies.