Best Buy will sell new 'smart' drone designed to simplify aerial photography


America's biggest maker of drone aircraft rolled out its newest model Monday and announced it will be sold at Best Buy stores.

The Twin Cities-based electronics retailer says in a statement that 400 of its stores will sell the Solo, which manufacturer 3D Robotics Inc. calls "the world's first smart drone."

Best Buy says the Solo will hit store shelves on May 31 ("just in time for Father's Day").

3D Robotics says the Solo, which will sell for $999, features Linux computers in the aircraft and controller that will work together to simplify both the flying and aerial photography.

The company's CEO, Chris Anderson, tells Bloomberg the Solo has an autopilot and is equipped to carry GoPro cameras. Anderson expects it to be popular with hobbyists and says it will also have uses for agriculture and construction.

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Before co-founding 3D Robotics, Anderson was editor of Wired magazine. That publication was enthusiastic about Monday's rollout of the Solo, noting it can be programmed to follow a particular flight path or orbit a certain object.

Forbes says the Solo was introduced less than a week after 3D Robotics' Chinese competitor, DJI, unveiled its new drone, the Phantom 3.

Best Buy's recent back-to-back quarters of same-store growth fueled praise for the retailer's turnaround under CEO Hubert Joly.

Joly joined the company as CEO in 2012 and Best Buy announced Monday that he will add the title of chairman when Hatim Tyabji retires from that post on June 9, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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