Drone-loving Android users can now play around with Parrot‘s new MiniDrone toys. With the FreeFlight 3 control app now available on Google Play Store, owners of Parrot’s new Jumping Sumo and Rolling Spider drones can now direct them to roll, jump, fly, and do all kinds of stunts and mayhem right from their smartphone or tablet.
Parrot’s latest MiniDrones defy conventional ideas of what drones are. The Jumping Sumo, for one, cannot fly at all. It is a mischievous-looking drone that rolls on the floor instead. Do not make the mistake of underestimating this devilish drone however, as it can catapult itself in to the air with no small amount of force. The Rolling Spider, on the other hand, mixes both the conventional and the unconventional. Like the Jumping Sumo, it rolls on large but thin wheels that could indeed remind you of arachnids. But it also has a special ability. It can shed off those wheels and take flight like a regular drone too.
These two rather interesting drones are set to go on sale in the US this August, with the Jumping Sumo starting pre-orders this month. And just in time, Parrot is releasing the Android app that will drive, literally, these two. The same app can be used to control both drones and can intelligently determine which of the two you are using, in case you decide to buy both. Just turn on the drone and then start the app to pair the two. Parrot notes that the Rolling Spider specifically uses Bluetooth LE, which, on Android, has only been supported starting Android 4.3. Aside from making the drones do acrobatic stunts, FreeFlight 3 can also give users a glimpse of what the drone is seeing. For the Jumping Sumo, the app can record photos and videos directly to a micro USB stick (sold separately) while on the Rolling Spider, the vertical camera can be made to take snapshots. And lastly, again for the Jumping Sumo, the app can be used to program the drone’s itinerary, letting the rolling devil to drive off on its own, based on your nefarious planning, of course.
FreeFlight 3 is free of charge but, of course, you’ll need one, or maybe even both, of these drones to make it worthwhile. The Jumping Sumo carries a price tag of $159 while the the Rolling Spider cost $99 only. Very curious, and only mildly expensive, toys that might be worth getting your hands on, especially if you’re very much into the personal drone scene.