Star Wars: The Force Awakens is one of the most anticipated films in years, and Disney has spared no expense in promoting it with a number of marketing partnerships that tie-in to mobile devices. If you’re a big fan, you may already know about some of them, and if you don’t, there may be some that are of interest as the next episode in the Star Wars mythos hits theatres.
Not everything that is available has been released to coincide with the film. Some have been around for some time, capturing the spirit of the whole franchise.
The BB-8 Sphero is one of the more unique toys and mobile accessories you can shop for. It works like a Sphero does, yet maintains the concept of what a droid in the Star Wars universe would feel like. Working with iOS and Android, it’s a versatile robot that will continue to get further support from Orbotix, the manufacturer, through firmware and app updates.
Apps and games
Speaking of apps, there is no shortage of those on iOS, Android, and even Windows Phone. Personally, I like Star Wars Pinball 3, which plays and looks great on a smartphone or tablet, though it can get pricey the deeper you get into it. Only one table is available from the start, with each additional one being an in-app purchase.
Games are aplenty on mobile devices. Too many to really do justice in this post, in fact. The most recent is a companion to the Star Wars: Battlefront game that recently launched for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Others are standalone games that contribute to the overall story, including Knights of the Old Republic, which goes back to a different era before the films.
If you want to get a little creative, try Action Movie FX on iOS, an already cool app that is offering specific Star Wars movie effects that you can layer onto your live video recordings. Have an AT-AT stomp onto the ground and crush something under the weight of its massive foot. Or get BB-8 to evade enemy fire, weaving its escape.
These are the real deal—all effects and sounds were created by Lucasfilm’s own Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound studio. Some are based on the original trilogy, including Darth Vader, while others feature the BB-8 to go with the new movie.
VR and interactive
Partnerships with Google have led to a couple of interesting releases that you may like. First, is Lightsaber Escape, which works with both your smartphone (iOS or Android), turning it into a lightsaber that you use to battle Stormtroopers appearing on a computer through the Chrome browser. It’s pretty neat stuff.
Second, a limited edition Star Wars Google Cardboard is coming out, though you could technically do this with any regular Cardboard unit. The idea is to pop in an iOS or Android phone, run the official Star Wars app and explore the desert planet of Jakku in 360-degree virtual reality.
Movies and shows
Catching up to the extensive universe that is Star Wars may need some repeat viewing. The six previous films are available to rent or buy through CinemaNow, iTunes and Google Play Movies on a phone or tablet. The Clone Wars computer-generated show can be streamed on Netflix. Unfortunately, none of the streaming services are currently offering the six films.
Yes, there’s more
I doubt I accounted for most of what’s already out there, so if there’s something I missed, please feel free to share in the comments below.
By Ted Kritsonis, Editor Smartphones
I’m a fortunate man in being able to do the fun job of following and reporting on one of the most exciting industries in the world today. In my time covering consumer tech, I’ve written for a number of publications, including the Globe and Mail, Yahoo! Canada, CBC.ca, Canoe, Digital Trends, MobileSyrup, G4 Tech, PC World, Faze and AppStorm. I’ve also appeared on TV as a tech expert for Global, CTV and the Shopping Channel.