Since Parrot's AR.Drone was released last year, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users have been able to control the twin-camera packing RC quadricopter via their iOS devices. At launch time Parrot said support for non-Apple platforms was on the way and following the release of piloting apps for mobile phones running Samsung's bada and Nokia's Symbian operating systems, Parrot has announced Android users will be able to find a free piloting app in the Android Market from next month.
While the AR.FreeFlight piloting app for Andorid devices was developed by Parrot, the "Free Flight" and "AR.Drone" piloting apps for bada and Symbian devices respectively, were actually developed by Playsoft Games using Parrot's free AR.Drone SDK. Thankfully, the piloting apps for the various platforms are all free.
In addition to the announcement of more playable platforms, Parrot has also announced new games and the establishment of an international competition giving pilots the chance to face off in a series of challenges. However, the games are currently only available for iOS devices.
The first new game is AR.Race that lets users lay out a course - either made up of existing obstacles or using special inflatable objects, such as pylons and a donut, that can be recognized by the Drone. The app, which allows one to four pilots to compete the same circuit, is free through the App Store, but pilots will need to shell out extra for the physical accessories. One donut costs US$49.99, while a pack of two pylons and a finishing line retails for $59.99.
Parrot says another new game involving two players and a single AR.Drone is also on the way.
Pilots will also get the opportunity to test their skills on the global stage with three "video" challenges to be revealed on June 24, July 8 and July 22. Entrants will be required to film their challenge attempts and post the videos online before August 14, 2011. The 14 best pilots will then be chosen to compete in a grand final to be held in Paris on October 1, 2011. Entrants must be over 18 and register at www.ardone.com.