Sphero, the accessory that reminds us that smartphones can be fun tooAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
How productive or how useful a smartphone can be to our everyday lives has become one of the most important things that people look for in a smartphone, whether that’s the stylus in the Note devices, the touchless controls of the Moto X, or the apps available on certain platforms. We seem to be on the hunt for the smartphone that gets the most business done and serves well as a personal communication device. However, sometimes we forget that smartphones are good for more than just business or productivity; they happen to be good for entertaining, too.
I came across an interesting Bluetooth accessory today. Normally when I hear the phrase “Bluetooth accessory” I’m thinking of a headpiece, maybe a smartwatch of somesort, but never have I thought that I would associate the term “Bluetooth accessory” with something as simple as a ball. Yep, a ball.
A ball is the classic go-to toy. It’s round, it’s bouncy, they typically don’t hurt a whole lot, and there’s an infine amount of things that you can do with one. There’s even more things you can do with a ball when you make it Bluetooth compatible so that you can control it with your smartphone, and that’s exactly what Sphero can do.
As I watched the rolling, tumbling, color-changing Sphero sphere do it’s thing in the advertisement video, I was having fun just watching it. The ball seemed to move wherever it pleased on its own, but you soon realize that somebody is controlling the ball’s direction with a phone or a tablet. Does it sound a little underwhelming? Yes, and perhaps it is, but it also looks like a pretty darn good way to pass the time in a number of ways.
First, you have the physical aspect of Sphero. It’s advertised as being “pet friendly, waterproof, and ready for any adventure”, which means it’s good for fetch, pool games, and plenty of interesting ways to freak people in public places out. It’s kind of like a modern remote control car, except without all of the cool (or annoying) noises. Sphero 1.0 travels at 3 feet per second, and can be controlled up to 50 feet away. Sphero 2.0, however, travels up to 7 feet per second and can be controlled up to 100 feet away. Pretty impressive!
Second, however, you have the digital aspect of Sphero. That is, while you can control Sphero’s physical form digitally using your tablet or smartphone, you can also use the Sphero itself to control certain applications in your smartphone or tablet. There are over 25 applications in the Android and iOS markets that use Sphero, which feature games and applications that cater to single or multiplayer action using the ball.
I think it’s pretty awesome how a company is able to take something as simple as a ball (well, a robot ball) and make it work so well with modern technology. Of course, Sphero is going to be pricier than your average ball, which might make it a no-go for a lot of people, but it’s still a pretty interesting gadget just to watch. The first generation Sphero goes for $79.99, while Sphero 2.0 goes for $129.99. It’s a kind of expensive toy, but with a dog, a kid, and a habit of doing mundane things to pass the time anyway, this might be one Bluetooth accessory I find myself springing for.
Readers, what are your thoughts on Sphero? Do you think this modern day ball is something that you’re interested in? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!