If you've been on the Internet this week, you've probably seen the marketing blitz for the new line of toys for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The crown jewel among innumerable action figures and LEGO sets is the miniature BB-8, a customized version of Sphero's ball toy with Star Wars paint and a "head" that bobs around and stays on top of the ball as it rolls along. Though the BB-8 is mechanically identical to a regular Sphero, you'll need a specialized Sphero app on Android or iOS to actually play with the thing.
The controller app does pretty much what you'd expect it to: direct control via a video game-style virtual pad, an autonomous "patrol mode" that lets the little DROID roam freely, and a holographic messaging function. Naturally the toy doesn't actually project video: you record a video on your phone and then point the camera towards the droid, then watch a "help me Obi-Wan" message via augmented reality. Unfortunately, it looks like the voice control feature (which works on iOS) isn't available on Android, at least not yet.
The BB-8 charges up with a neat custom base and connects via Bluetooth. In order to play with it you'll need a Bluetooth Smart-compatible phone or tablet running Android 4.4 or later, and 140MB of free space. Oh, and $150 for the toy itself, and a lot of patience to actually find one now that all the obsessive collectors and holiday scalpers have had an entire day to deplete the toy store stocks.