AR.Drone helicopter controlled from Android, bada, Symbian

Pilots can also compete in an international competition

Parrot's AR.Drone helicopter will be controlled from Android, bada and Symbian devices, the company announced at E3 in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Previously the four-fan copter could only be piloted with gadgets running iOS.

AR.FreeFlight, the application that lets gamers fly the AR.Drone, will be available for Android in July 2011.

The AR.Drone was first shown at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and officially launched at E3 last year. The device's fans allow it to fly in all directions and real time video is sent back to the controlling device from the copter's two cameras.

Parrot also announced an international competition dubbed AR.Drone challenges. After registering through the company's website, users can compete against others by posting video challenges on the site. The first challenge starts on June 24. Fourteen finalists will be selected to participate in Paris on October 1.

The AR.Drone costs US$300.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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