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Gifts for Geeks, Part 8: R2-D2 Webcam & VoIP Phone

What could be cooler than a remote controlled R2-D2?  How about a remote controlled R2-D2 that's also a webcam and VoIP phone?

Yup.  Hammacher Schlemmer and Sharper Image are both selling this little guy.  He wirelessly transmits real-time audio and video to your PC, and he has a sensor to warn you if he's about to drive off of your desk if your joy at driving R2 around leaves you unaware of potential falls.

Here's where I'm a bit lost, though.  He comes with a lightsaber that acts as his remote control, and as far as Hammacher Schlemmer is concerned, that's about all he does.  The Sharper Image, however, also claims that the lightsaber is a USB-powered VoIP phone that works with Skype.  The photo on Hammacher Schlemmer's website clearly shows a phone keypad on the lightsaber, and it's about $30 cheaper there than at The Sharper Image (R2 is in their 2007 holiday catalog but not on their website).  Could the Hammacher Schlemmer droid be a scaled-down version, or is their web description lacking a key feature?

Either way it's a cool toy for geeks and Star Wars fans alike, but at $350-380, only the hardcore will likely find it under their tree this year.

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