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CES: Parrot unveils AR.Drone 2.0 (pictures)

iPhone-controlled helicopter gets upgraded camera

We spoke to Parrot at the CES Unveiled event in Las Vegas today, and were shown the firm's new AR.Drone 2.0 remote-controlled helicopter, as well as a range of dedicated in-car internet devices.

Parrot's AR.Drone - a small quad-propellor helicopter that can be controlled remotely via iPhone or other smartphone - always pulls in a good crowd. Sure enough, even at CES 2012's exceptionally packed Unveiled event this afternoon, Parrot's stand was noticeably better attended than most.

The successor to 2010's popular Parrot AR.Drone was showing off its usual acrobatic tricks, but more intriguing was the connected video feed. Ideally for the spy/film auteur crossover segment, the helicopter's camera now shoots in HD - or at least 720p.

A free app is available that lets users record HD video from the helicopter's camera and share it with others, and there's a 'travelling' feature that enables those previously mentioned film director types to set a particular aerial, moving shot - a direction and duration, basically - and then the AR.Drone 2.0 will do the hard work.

Parrot also reckons it's got the stability of the device improved, and the manoeuvres on show seemed to back that up.

The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 in action. Parrot's expanded range of Asteroid internet devices can be seen in the foreground

The AR.Drone has an optional indoor propellor guard, as seen in these photos.

Here's what it looks like in outdoors mode

We were told that the AR.Drone 2.0 will launch in the US in the second quarter of 2012, with a predicted price of $299; UK launch details were unavailable, but we'll let you know you as soon as we do.

Parrot was also showing three new additions to its Asteroid line of in-car internet devices. The previous Asteroid model was integrated into a car's dashboard, but the newbies are standalone units that are fitted with brackets, in the manner of satnavs.

Nevertheless, the firm sees the units as dedicated to the car: a company spokesperson argued that it's better "to leave the smartphone at home" and maintain a device for accessing web services in the car.

There are three new Asteroid internet devices: the Asteroid CK, which has a 3.2in colour screen and a wireless remote, the Asteroid NAV, with a 5in multitouch colour touchscreen, and the Asteroid 2DIN, which has a 6.2in multitouch colour touchscreen. All three will launch this year, but pricing details are yet to emerge.


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