We got word this afternoon that the Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter is going to be sold exclusively through Brookstone and is available for pre-order right now for $299.99. Brookstone plans on shipping orders on September 3rd, and the first 300 orders get a free flight bag. (Tempting, I know.) Currently, Brookstone is only willing to ship the Parrot AR.Drone to customers inside of the USA, and optionally available is a $49.95 bundle which includes a additional hull, battery, and an iPhone 3G/3GS case. They're also selling two and three year service plans for $39.99 or $49.99, although it's unclear whether or not breaking your AR.Drone by crashing it in to something is considered "normal wear and tear."

We got our first hands-on at CES 2010 earlier this year and thought it was incredibly cool-

The device is currently controlled using an iPhone/iPod Touch app which communicates through Wi-Fi to the AR.Drone itself. Simply tap on Launch and the AR.Drone takes off and hovers over a stationary spot. On screen controls are easy and effective.

Left/right buttons allow you to rotate 360 degrees in one spot, while up/down buttons control altitude. Pressing on a special button activates tilt-control on the iPhone/iPod Touch itself. This allow you to fly the device by naturally tilting the iPhone itself. Meanwhile, the on screen controls are overlayed with live video coming from the front-facing camera of the Drone itself.

In picking it up for the first time, I found it very easy to maneuver. The main thing I had to get used to was using the drone's point of view to steer, rather than my own. Check out our video:

The Parrot AR.Drone has some serious technology built in to it with its ability to auto-level itself, and pilot itself if it loses the connection with the device you're controlling it with. Remote control helicopters (which require much more skill to fly) sell for upwards of $1,000, making the $299.99 they're asking for everything the AR.Drone is capable of doing seem surprisingly appealing. For more information on the Parrot AR.Drone check out the web site and make sure to take a peek at their gallery of augmented reality games that you can play for the device.

I can't wait to get my hands on one.

  • Grubjelly

    About how much time does it take for an average gamer to complete all the tracks? Is the AI any good? Also, what about the great big hole in the wall?

  • Grubjelly

    About how much time does it take for an average gamer to complete all the tracks? Is the AI any good? Also, what about the great big hole in the wall?

  • Sedri

    I'm sure it will get boring after 5 minutes just like every other radio controlled vehicle.

    • Adams Immersive

      And then it will get fun all over again :)

      R/C aircraft are expensive—even the controllers alone. Check Amazon for a reality check if you think anything but a low-end toy can be had for cheap! Really, this IS amazingly cheap for what you get. Anyone expecting the price to plummet is being unrealistic. This isn’t just some random low-end propeller-with-a-battery. It’s a Linux computer, a couple cameras and sensors, a WiFi base station built in, 4 rotors and a lot of software! And since it’s not a mainstream hobby, it’s not manufactured in mass quantities; thus higher manufacturing costs.

      R/C is not for everyone, of course—some people would better spend that money on whatever does interest them.

      I’m awaiting reviews, but if there are no unpleasant surprises when it ships, I definitely plan to get one!

      • Adams Immersive

        One thing I might consider waiting for: seeing if the video stream from the camera can be made smoother (either with new software or new hardware). It’s acceptable as is, but judginh from the YouTube videos it’s a pretty low framerate. And the cameras are the most fun part of using an iPhone as controller!

      • mardas pye

        Yeah so what if they can be expensive. Doesn't make them less boring.

  • Sedri

    I'm sure it will get boring after 5 minutes just like every other radio controlled vehicle.

    • Adams Immersive

      And then it will get fun all over again :)

      R/C aircraft are expensive—even the controllers alone. Check Amazon for a reality check if you think anything but a low-end toy can be had for cheap! Really, this IS amazingly cheap for what you get. Anyone expecting the price to plummet is being unrealistic. This isn’t just some random low-end propeller-with-a-battery. It’s a Linux computer, a couple cameras and sensors, a WiFi base station built in, 4 rotors and a lot of software! And since it’s not a mainstream hobby, it’s not manufactured in mass quantities; thus higher manufacturing costs.

      R/C is not for everyone, of course—some people would better spend that money on whatever does interest them.

      I’m awaiting reviews, but if there are no unpleasant surprises when it ships, I definitely plan to get one!

      • Adams Immersive

        One thing I might consider waiting for: seeing if the video stream from the camera can be made smoother (either with new software or new hardware). It’s acceptable as is, but judginh from the YouTube videos it’s a pretty low framerate. And the cameras are the most fun part of using an iPhone as controller!

      • mardas pye

        Yeah so what if they can be expensive. Doesn't make them less boring.

  • Flow

    Brookstone Promotioncode 20$ AF2JULY

  • Flow

    Brookstone Promotioncode 20$ AF2JULY

  • amroc

    Not paying more than 99c for it

    • JCat

      lol -almost spilled my coffee reading this.

      • Yog Shoggoth

        Hmm dunno think I'll wait till it's free

  • amroc

    Not paying more than 99c for it

    • JCat

      lol -almost spilled my coffee reading this.

      • Yog Shoggoth

        Hmm dunno think I'll wait till it's free

  • http://www.ashy2classydice.com Brad

    How far can it go?

    • Adams Immersive

      Distance-wise? As far as you can walk to follow it :) It can travel away from you, but only within the range of its built-in WiFi. (Which is probably pretty decent range when used outdoors.) It doesn’t need to stay within a WiFi hotspot, because it creates its own.

      Time-wise on a single charge? I seem to recall them estimating 10-20 minutes, from memory, but I see no current info.

      BTW, I notice they offer repair parts, complete with installation videos. That bodes well for a long and entertaining life!

  • http://www.ashy2classydice.com Brad

    How far can it go?

    • Adams Immersive

      Distance-wise? As far as you can walk to follow it :) It can travel away from you, but only within the range of its built-in WiFi. (Which is probably pretty decent range when used outdoors.) It doesn’t need to stay within a WiFi hotspot, because it creates its own.

      Time-wise on a single charge? I seem to recall them estimating 10-20 minutes, from memory, but I see no current info.

      BTW, I notice they offer repair parts, complete with installation videos. That bodes well for a long and entertaining life!

  • PONGbyATARI

    Way to expensive give it a few months and it cost a lot less. It might be cool but not $300 cool.

  • http://touchArcade PONGbyATARI

    Way to expensive give it a few months and it cost a lot less. It might be cool but not $300 cool.

  • http://www.ringtail.com/ Porsupah

    Ordered. Finally. ^_^

  • http://www.ringtail.com/ Porsupah

    Ordered. Finally. ^_^

  • Yrogerg212

    What if Apple rejects the app?

  • Yrogerg212

    What if Apple rejects the app?

  • Acidbottle

    sad to think the only people that can really afford/want this are fully grown men in reasonably well paid jobs haha!

  • Acidbottle

    sad to think the only people that can really afford/want this are fully grown men in reasonably well paid jobs haha!

  • Josh

    I will wait until Air Hogs releases something. They always have great build quality with very reasonable prices. $300 is too expensive.

  • Josh

    I will wait until Air Hogs releases something. They always have great build quality with very reasonable prices. $300 is too expensive.

  • Adam

    Yrogerg212, App has already been available on the app store for awhile now.

  • Adam

    Yrogerg212, App has already been available on the app store for awhile now.

  • hanerlend

    @Adams Immersive I agree. We need at least a steady 15fps for this to be any cool. Video is important with this device.

    • jamie

      go on website and it says the video is about 60 fps

  • hanerlend

    @Adams Immersive I agree. We need at least a steady 15fps for this to be any cool. Video is important with this device.

    • jamie

      go on website and it says the video is about 60 fps

  • lix

    LOL! you would be a fool to buy this or just rich. Check out deal extreme, they have remote control helicopters for 15 bucks, it flys, you control via remote and you have fun. There are more expensive ones, but not as stupid as this iphone/pad 1.

    • Adams Immersive

      Do they have autopilot? Cameras?

      I’ll have to pick one of those up for $15 ;)

    • GronchoMax

      If your concept of being rich is having a spare $300 dollars in your pocket then you will be a very happy person. $300 isn't much money (an iPad costs more than that, and people who own it isn't exactly rich in most cases).

      $300 is a fair price for what this developers are offering. If you can't afford it right now because you aren't "rich", well, just shhhh...

  • lix

    LOL! you would be a fool to buy this or just rich. Check out deal extreme, they have remote control helicopters for 15 bucks, it flys, you control via remote and you have fun. There are more expensive ones, but not as stupid as this iphone/pad 1.

    • Adams Immersive

      Do they have autopilot? Cameras?

      I’ll have to pick one of those up for $15 ;)

    • GronchoMax

      If your concept of being rich is having a spare $300 dollars in your pocket then you will be a very happy person. $300 isn't much money (an iPad costs more than that, and people who own it isn't exactly rich in most cases).

      $300 is a fair price for what this developers are offering. If you can't afford it right now because you aren't "rich", well, just shhhh...

  • 1337brian

    If I had the money I would SO get this, But I'll wait till it's in the sub $200 range....

  • 1337brian

    If I had the money I would SO get this, But I'll wait till it's in the sub $200 range....

  • klouud

    OK this is just cool! I wish I had kids so I could forcibly buy this as their sole Christmas present and then steal it!

  • klouud

    OK this is just cool! I wish I had kids so I could forcibly buy this as their sole Christmas present and then steal it!

  • mbezzo

    VERY excited, just ordered mine. For all who are interested, Bing offers 12% cashback through 9pm pacific tomorrow!

    And for all those who think this is too expensive... I honestly never thought it'd actually be for sale at this price.. cuz it's TOO CHEAP! This is such a good deal...

    • Mr. Gates

      Thanks for the Tip.....

      MOLE !!!!!

  • mbezzo

    VERY excited, just ordered mine. For all who are interested, Bing offers 12% cashback through 9pm pacific tomorrow!

    And for all those who think this is too expensive... I honestly never thought it'd actually be for sale at this price.. cuz it's TOO CHEAP! This is such a good deal...

    • Mr. Gates

      Thanks for the Tip.....

      MOLE !!!!!

  • Jgrug

    Hopefully they will expand this into a full line of rc vehicles with a more varied and hopefully lower price range.

  • Jgrug

    Hopefully they will expand this into a full line of rc vehicles with a more varied and hopefully lower price range.

  • Orsky

    For anyone in the UK, the AR Drone is being stocked by HMV and is retailing at £299. Release date is 18th August. Whilst we always end up paying more in the UK we'll at least get this product ahead of our US friends (unlike every other gadget!).

  • Orsky

    For anyone in the UK, the AR Drone is being stocked by HMV and is retailing at £299. Release date is 18th August. Whilst we always end up paying more in the UK we'll at least get this product ahead of our US friends (unlike every other gadget!).

  • Gajet

    I wonder why they removed the protective bumper from around the propellers, as seen in the earlier video? I guess now they make better weapons, and the cynical side of me thinks they break easier, hence the cover plan.

  • Gajet

    I wonder why they removed the protective bumper from around the propellers, as seen in the earlier video? I guess now they make better weapons, and the cynical side of me thinks they break easier, hence the cover plan.

  • mbezzo

    @Gajet

    The bumpers are removable and considered necessary for indoor flight, outside, they aren't as big of a deal as your unlikely to hit walls.

    • Gajet

      Ah yes, If I'd bothered to read the advert

      "Fly your AR.Drone anywhere you like. The included indoor hull protects the rotors during tight maneuvering around walls and furniture then removes easily to minimize weight and wind resistance during outdoor flights. Copter is made of carbon fiber and high-resistance plastic. "

  • mbezzo

    @Gajet

    The bumpers are removable and considered necessary for indoor flight, outside, they aren't as big of a deal as your unlikely to hit walls.

    • Gajet

      Ah yes, If I'd bothered to read the advert

      "Fly your AR.Drone anywhere you like. The included indoor hull protects the rotors during tight maneuvering around walls and furniture then removes easily to minimize weight and wind resistance during outdoor flights. Copter is made of carbon fiber and high-resistance plastic. "

  • mgabrys

    That's not what I saw earlier. What I saw was a device with protective bumpers on the propellers and a carbon-fiber shell.

    I see a breaky-styrofoam body and some rinky-dink breakworthy exposed props.

    I don't see myself buying it. Perhaps if they stick to the prototype design instead of screwing it up.

  • mgabrys

    That's not what I saw earlier. What I saw was a device with protective bumpers on the propellers and a carbon-fiber shell.

    I see a breaky-styrofoam body and some rinky-dink breakworthy exposed props.

    I don't see myself buying it. Perhaps if they stick to the prototype design instead of screwing it up.

  • jamie

    when it comes out i'm going to wait a few months for the price to lower
    i think it would be worth the wait

  • jamie

    when it comes out i'm going to wait a few months for the price to lower
    i think it would be worth the wait