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Meet BB-9E, Star Wars' New Droid

With a new Star Wars film comes new characters, and most importantly, new toys for Christmas. Fans fell in love with BB-8 from The Force Awakens, and Disney hopes that The Last Jedi will make BB-9E a star as well. The new gray and black droid, described as "BB-8's evil twin," rolls around on a ball like BB-8, but has a flat head and a glowing red eye. The app-enabled toy is made by Sphero, along with BB-8 and R2D2.

"We saw some imagery and [learned] how it sounds and behaves in the movie," said Sphero CEO Paul Berberian.

The Boulder-based startup -- whose partnership with Disney began through a tech mentoring program -- created a robotic toy version of BB-8 in 2015, which sold more than million units.

Like the BB-8 toy, BB-9E is also a 4.4-inch app-controlled robot. It has the same ball-shaped body that moves without wheels. It comes with a magnetically-attached head. It features blue and red lights that illuminate when the head is attached to the body.

BB-9E retails for $149.99. It's the most-talked about new Star Wars toy debuting today for Force Friday, but there are a lot more products hitting the market today. If you want to do your Star Wars Christmas shopping early, check out the hot new Star Wars toys, and a list of all kinds of Star Wars merchandise unveiled for Force Friday.

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We own a couple Spheros in my makerspace and they are very impressive. The programming app is very suitable for elementary age students.

One of my colleagues owns the BB-8 Sphero. It is a true wonder. It really does move exactly like BB-8 from the movie.
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