If I had to guess, I would have predicted that Parrot would announce an outdoors quadcopter with better camera than the AR.Drone to compete with the DJI Phantom Vision, but instead they went even further into the toy realm with a "MiniDrone" that has no camera at all. The Verge reports:
As the name suggests, it really is a smaller quadrocopter cut from the same cloth as the AR.Drone. You can hold it in the palm of your hand but it actually has quite a bit of power. We used it inside and it zipped across a room very quickly. Its four rotors spin with ferocity and sound like a swarm of bees attacking, but the MiniDrone keeps its balance and it surprisingly easy to control.
It's controlled just like the AR.Drone using an iPhone app. The makers say that they spent quite a bit of time to make sure that the drone would be stable and easy to use — particularly important since Parrot hopes kids will use the MiniDrone. In practice it seems their work has paid off: you can control the pitch and yaw using one thumb and altitude and rotation using another. You can also use the accelerometer in the iPhone to change the drone's direction. It may sound complicated, but the computer on board the drone makes it very difficult to spin out of control, and at any time you can release both thumbs and the drone will instantly return to a stable hover. It's so stable, in fact, that we were able to bounce off of walls and hit it in air without knocking it out of the skies.
By default the MiniDrone comes with large wheels, which primarily serve to let the toy roll around. They become particularly useful as a protective barrier around the rotors, allowing the drone to bounce around without getting destroyed.
On the tech side of things, Parrot's using Bluetooth 4.0 to communicate with the drone, and the company says that offers a maximum range in clear air of about 160 feet. We didn't have any issues with range during testing, but you may do well to be concerned about the battery life — the company promises 6-7 minutes on a full charge. At least it will be a very fun few minutes.