Parrot puts the camera first in its new Bebop drone

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You might pick up a drone for a lot of reasons, from monitoring crops to catching rhino poachers to just having a good time piloting a tiny airplane. But the ability to capture photos and videos from high up in the air is one of the most common reasons for their appeal, and consumer drone makers are responding by attaching increasingly sophisticated cameras to them.

Parrot, which makes low-cost, easy-to-fly quadcopters, announced today that it will add a new drone to its lineup in the last quarter of 2014. The Bebop drone is basically just a camera with four rotors and optional bumpers, which allows it to weigh less than a pound. The downside is that this means it only has 12 minutes of flying time before its battery dies.

The Parrot Bebop drone. Photo courtesy of Parrot.

The Parrot Bebop drone. Photo courtesy of Parrot.

The Bebop’s camera captures 14 megapixel photos and HD video, which puts it in line with competitors like the DJI Phantom 2 Vision. It comes with 8 GB of memory.

Like other Parrot quadcopters, the Bebop is controlled from an app on a mobile phone or tablet. Parrot is also offering a new accessory that attaches to mobile devices and extends the range the drone can fly from its operator to 1.25 miles. The Bebop is also compatible with virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift, which can be used to reposition the camera.

The Parrot Bebop drone can be controlled from a mobile device, plus an optional WiFi range extender. Its camera can be controlled from within a virtual reality headset like Oculus Rift. Photo courtesy of Parrot.

The Parrot Bebop drone can be controlled from a mobile device, plus an optional WiFi range extender. Its camera can be controlled from within a virtual reality headset like Oculus Rift. Photo courtesy of Parrot.

Parrots has not yet said how much the Bebop will cost. Its last quadcopter, the AR.Drone 2.0, costs just $300. If Parrot can keep the price below the competing Blade 350 QX‘s sub-$500 and DJI Phantom’s $1,200 price tags, it could easily be a top choice for beginning quadcopter users.

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