With the first reviews coming out and screenings starting on Dec. 17, Disney’s Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is now entering its period of peak hype. As fans scramble to get into theatres before the inevitable spoilers, even those who don’t care for Star Wars won’t be able to avoid exposure to the faces of Rey, Finn, Kylo Renn, and the rest of the new cast. With just about every marketing tie-in you could imagine, Star Wars is everywhere you look now, especially in the online world. We’ve gathered up the top 5 tech tie-ins that you’ll either be thrilled to try – or are pained to avoid.
Google is inviting users to choose either the Light or Dark side, and personalizing services such as Gmail, Calendar, and search based on your choice. If you get bored of one side, you can pull an Anakin and switch sides any time you like. Look closely for the lightsaber loading bar as you wait for your Gmail inbox to appear.
Sphero is already known for its smartphone or tablet-controlled balls that can race around your home and be used to play augmented-reality based games. So it wasn’t a big leap to imitate the new BB-8 droid featured in The Force Awakens. The toy has an autonomous mode and will recognize your voice commands.
HP is one of the brands listed as an official merchandising partner by Disney for The Force Awakens. It used that power to release a Star Wars Special Edition notebook, which has a “Dark side inspired” design, complete with a lived-in metallic finish and glowing red backlit keys. Starting at $699 USD, the laptop is powered by an Intel processor and runs Windows 10.
Even Facebook has a tie-in for The Force Awakens. A timely feature allows you to graphically superimpose a lightsaber on your profile photo. Choose either villain Kylo Ren’s cross-guard red saber or Finn’s blue saber. Facebook will let you set a timer so your profile photo will swap back to your previous one after some time.
Google-owned Waze, a driving navigation app that uses crowd data to avoid traffic jams, is loaded with Star Wars references. You can even have C3PO’s voice direct you to your destination as you score points with Waze’s gamification element by finding R2-D2, BB-8, and TIE fighters on the map. Available for iOS and Android.