Sphero Reveals New iPhone-Controlled R2-D2 and BB-9E Droids

Sphero today unveiled all-new iPhone-controlled Star Wars toys, including R2-D2 and a new character from Star Wars: The Last Jedi called BB-9E (via TechCrunch). This latter droid is described as originating from the same astromech series as BB-8, but is instead associated with the villainous First Order.


Similar to Sphero’s BB-8 droid from 2015, BB-9E (priced at $149) comes with a set of pre-programmed moves and voice lines, but users can also manually control the droid from their iOS device. BB-9E’s head is equipped with LED lights and is magnetically attached to the droid’s body, so it can roll around similar to the character within the upcoming movie.


The company said that BB-9E will interact with its other Star Wars iPhone-controlled droids, as well as react to Star Wars films when users watch with the droid nearby. Sphero said that BB-9E will receive consistent updates, including new voice lines, particularly as the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi draws closer.

Additionally, Sphero revealed an iPhone-controlled R2-D2 droid (priced at $179), which includes all of the same features as the other Star Wars products from Sphero. R2-D2 can patrol on its own and includes fully-functioning LED lights and an integrated speaker that produces the droid’s recognizable sounds.


Both BB-9E and R2-D2 use the same app that Sphero launched with BB-8 two years ago, so users can simply keep adding new droids to play around with, without needing to download a separate app for each. Both of the new droids will support a few augmented reality experiences in the connected app, where fans can view iconic Star Wars settings and characters through their iOS device, with the Sphero characters interacting in the same space.

AR games will also be available to play, and BB-9E is shipping with an “augmented reality platform,” which users can place to keep the droid still in order to play AR games around it. BB-8 Sphero droids will be shipped with the same platforms starting today as well.

Force Friday II begins tomorrow, September 1, and previous reports have stated that Apple Stores will be getting a few Star Wars-themed items to participate in the toy release celebrations. Since BB-8 originally went on sale in Apple Stores for Force Friday back in 2015, it’s expected for the same thing to happen this year for BB-9E and R2-D2, but many details regarding the shopping event are still under wraps with information about specific toy releases just beginning to emerge today.

If customers do stop in at an Apple Store this weekend, they’ll be able to participate in a few Star Wars-themed sessions where they’ll learn how to build a Star Wars trailer in iMovie, program a droid, and more.

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