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The AirScooter II personal flying vehicle

AirScooter II

Inventor Elwood "Woody" Norris first developed high-end stereo speakers, an alarm that signals when a hip replacement has worn out, and now — the next logical creation — the AirScooter II, a personal aircraft that can hover or fly at speeds up to 55 knots. The aircraft weighs around 300 pounds and does not require a pilot's license to operate. It operates on two rotors in a fashion similar to most helicopters, but is apparently easier to fly. The flight controls live in the motorbike-style handlebars and there are no foot pedals whatsoever, meaning the craft could be piloted by those without the use of their legs. Pricing hasn't been officially set, but the Nevada-based company, AirScooter (what's with these cryptic names?), expects to release the product this year for less than $50,000. A bit rich for our blood, but damn if it wouldn't make a fine Engadget-mobile. We wouldn't mind showing up at the next trade show in this. Peep the video of The AirScooter II in action below.

Video: AirScooter II in flight [Quicktime]

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(Page 1)

1. "It operates on two rotors in a fashion similar to most helicopters, but is apparently easier to fly."

Really? I thought most helicopters operate in the main rotor/tail rotor "fashion." Tail rotor counteracts the torque forces of the main.

The whole counter-rotating.....rotor deal kills the need for a tail rotor and an elongated fuselage...

UAV's and the like have used the design for awhile, but easier to fly?

Posted at 12:25PM on Apr 16th 2005 by chris 0 stars

2. This is not really a helicopters then is it? No tail rotor means its a gyrocopter or something right?

In any case I still wonder how easy it is to learn to fly this thing... and how good a crater it would make if you buggered up.

Posted at 12:52PM on Apr 16th 2005 by Cameron 0 stars

3. "Your own private gyro-thingy - $50,000"
"Asking your boss for permission to park on the roof - priceless"

Posted at 1:02PM on Apr 16th 2005 by Producer 0 stars

4. Gyro-copter is something different. Propulsion is provided by a pusher prop, and the rotor's only purpose is to serve as a "wing." Albeit a big, rotating one. They don't hover.

Posted at 1:12PM on Apr 16th 2005 by chris 0 stars

5. When I have $50k to spend, I'm SO buying one! I've wanted a helicopter since I first saw the plans in the back of a Popular Science magazine :)

Posted at 1:18PM on Apr 16th 2005 by James Scott 0 stars

6. If I had 50k to blow, it wouldn't be used for this weak helicopter. I'd get myself a real nice car rather than a lame helicopter. I don't even know what the heck I'd do with it. It's probably fun to ride around in for a couple hours, but then it would probably end up in the garage collecting dust.

Posted at 1:38PM on Apr 16th 2005 by Ian Frick 0 stars

7. It’s a dual rotor helicopter so basically one blade rotates in the opposite direction. Since the two blades rotate in opposite directions, it counter acts the rotation that a tail rotor would be needed for.

Posted at 1:42PM on Apr 16th 2005 by Ben 0 stars

8. For $70k, you can get one of these heliocopters The only catch, you have to build it.

Posted at 1:57PM on Apr 16th 2005 by James 0 stars

9. I'd love to have one of these. My commute would go from three hours a day to 20 minutes a day, round trip. Under $50,000 sounds like a great price, hardly more than that new BMW I've had my eye on. Now, I just have to convince my wife that I won't die. Where did I put that Life Insurance Agent's card.....

Posted at 2:04PM on Apr 16th 2005 by Roger Rees 0 stars

10. "This is not really a helicopters then is it? No tail rotor means its a gyrocopter or something right?"
Its almost like the Chinook helicopter, only the rotors are on top of each other.
In any case, wasn't this exact same thing promised three years ago, and was supposed to be out 2 years ago?,20967,319699,00.html
Boy how time flies and vapourware ages...

Posted at 3:01PM on Apr 16th 2005 by jacob 0 stars

11. And also, this is not really meant for civilians except as a recreational vehicle, but for things like the military, police, border patrol, etc, so don't expect to see them in droves above your house anytime soon.

Posted at 3:05PM on Apr 16th 2005 by Jacob 0 stars

12. The old TechTv had a show called "Big Thinkers" where they did a show on Elwood. I miss the old TechTv.

Posted at 4:21PM on Apr 16th 2005 by Liam 0 stars

13. The best example of the dual rotor design;

The Ka-50 HOKUM!

Posted at 5:07PM on Apr 16th 2005 by Et Tu 0 stars

14. I would love to fly one of these to work!
It's over largely unpopulated woodlands, so it wouldn't be too much of a hassle, and I'm guessing it flys under ultralight rules.

Until the day I fail to show up for work and they find my skeletal remains in a tree strapped into that thing...

Maybe a bike...

Posted at 5:49PM on Apr 16th 2005 by strider_mt2k 0 stars

15. Pimp my Airscooter

Posted at 6:29PM on Apr 16th 2005 by TV 0 stars

16. i'm sure, the crazy american military system will love the idea :-(.

Posted at 7:04PM on Apr 16th 2005 by fredouil 0 stars

17. This thing is really impressive since it can hover. It's fast too with only the mains for propulsion. I wonder what the range is or if there is a dual occupant version. Epson has just recently developed a micro version of this.

Posted at 4:52AM on Apr 17th 2005 by Brad 0 stars

18. If 'Et Tu' hadn't beaten me to it I was gonna mention the Werewolf. Bada$$ IMO...

I remember seeing an old news real on the history channel that showed a helicopter from back in the early 50's (60's?) whose blades folded up and could drive on it's wheeled landing gear at up to 30mph. The idea was that eventually the 'helo-car' would eventually become the american commuter vehicle. Fly over your commute distance and then convert to road travel in town. Boy am I glad people noticed that the human race is in general too spastic to even handle conventional automobiles safely right now....much less flying vehicles for the masses...

$50K? If I had that kinda scrilla to waste on a toy this would be a distinct possibility. Presupposing of course that if I had that kind of scrilla I'd have long since moved out to the more rural suburban area (I'll risk MY life, but I don't wanna come down on a school or mall when/if I crack up in that thing). It might catch on. Think about $50K it's cheaper than a lot of the larger SUV's out there, and what are THOSE for most people except glorified toys/status symbols?

And even for those people who actually off-road in their SUV's (for fun OR profit) which of these two do think can handle the tougher terrain ? :)

(Yeah yeah yeah, I passenger only, no cargo, it was a joke...)

Posted at 12:04PM on Apr 17th 2005 by OddManOut 0 stars

19. From a helo pilot:
This type of design is called "co-axial". There are actually other types of non-tail rotor designs (the most recognizable being the Chinook mentioned above) including the Hokum (mentioned), the Kamax (rotors are side by side at an angle and intersect, very powerful design), NoTar (like the MD500N you see on COPS), and other experimental designs that include feeding the downwash through a rudder of sorts (very inefficient).

The problem I see with this design is that the blades are so tiny I doubt the ability to auto-rotate safely. You'd have to have damn quick reflexes to get the collective down in time (is there a collective on this thing?).

Also, since it's an experimental design, you don't need a pilots liscence to fly it. Why the FAA made a law like this I don't know. This thing looks like a danger to me.

Posted at 3:53PM on Apr 17th 2005 by whirlyman 0 stars

20. I don't know if anyone will read this since the article is a little old, but anyway...

This helicopter was shown on 60 Minutes last night and is not vaporware. They flew it in a demonstration, mentioned you would not need a pilots license if you kept it under 400 feet and even let the reporter take it for a spin, sort of.

The strap the copter down, leaving enough slack to let him get up on a stable hover, but tight enough to not let him crash it if he went sideways, backwards, etc.... It only took him 5 minutes to get a sucessful, stable takeoff, which was pretty impressive. Sure, there was a quick freeze frame as soon as he was stable, which leads me to believe he went unstable almost immediatly, but he acheived a take off after only 8 or so tries.

The test pilot that did the demo did show this thing is extremly stable with an experience pilot. Also, a co-worker is a RC helicopter fanatic and just Friday came to work with is new toy - an small RC helicopter that is designed for indoor use and has this same dual rotor design. He says it is much more stable to fly than his traditional helicopter models with the tail rotor.

Posted at 8:55AM on Apr 18th 2005 by GMack 0 stars

21. Think ferry over water......

Posted at 1:51AM on Apr 22nd 2005 by Merry Walsh 0 stars

22. Once every couple of weeks I "Fly to Work", simpley to avoid one of the busiest corradors in the NW. Then I have to find a ride from the closest airport (14 miles away). But this is still better than driving.

I live 45 miles from the office, and when I drive, if I don't leave before 5:00AM, I am in slow traffic most of the way. Judging from expressions on people's faces in the cars around me, I am not the only one who is not enjoying the morning commute. Its time for a paradigm shift in personal modes of travel. This is a great idea, something, by the way, that I have never seen from politicians (i.e. their ideas usually center around social engineering approaches to solve a problem - carpool lanes, luxury tax on larger vehicles, mass transit taxes, expensive FAA regulations, etc.) This is a novel idea!

Posted at 2:35PM on Apr 25th 2005 by FixedWingPilot 0 stars

23. I have a fixed wing pilot's licence and would love a personal helicopter as much as the next man. There's no way in the world I'd fly an Airscooter though, until they add some sort of engine failure safety device.

When the engine fails in a conventional helicopter, the pilot reduces the collective to autorotate, effective gliding the helicopter and storing some energy in the rotors to hopefully make a safe landing.

The Airscooter has no collective and no cyclic, flight control is by pivoting the rotor head about a universal joint, effectively shifting weight, and by increasing/decreasing rotor speed via throttle. When the engine fails, the small fixed pitch rotors would have very little inertia and would stop very quickly - the machine and pilot would plummet earthwards like a brick. Forget parachuting, the rotors would ruin your day even sooner!

The company has stated they are developing some sort of "ballistic" recovery system, meaning a parachute that is fired by a small charge or spring. This is possible, but very difficult, given the design and economics of the machine.

I reckon the simple reason you can't yet buy an Airscooter is that the current design would be an ambulance chasing lawyer's dream come true!

Posted at 9:45AM on Jul 16th 2005 by Johno 0 stars

24. I have a fixed wing pilot's licence and would love a personal helicopter as much as the next man. There's no way in the world I'd fly an Airscooter though, until they add some sort of engine failure safety device.

When the engine fails in a conventional helicopter, the pilot reduces the collective to autorotate, effective gliding the helicopter and storing some energy in the rotors to hopefully make a safe landing.

The Airscooter has no collective and no cyclic, flight control is by pivoting the rotor head about a universal joint, effectively shifting weight, and by increasing/decreasing rotor speed via throttle. When the engine fails, the small fixed pitch rotors would have very little inertia and would stop very quickly - the machine and pilot would plummet earthwards like a brick. Forget parachuting, the rotors would ruin your day even sooner!

The company has stated they are developing some sort of "ballistic" recovery system, meaning a parachute that is fired by a small charge or spring. This is possible, but very difficult, given the design and economics of the machine.

I reckon the simple reason you can't yet buy an Airscooter is that the current design would be an ambulance chasing lawyer's dream come true!

Posted at 9:45AM on Jul 16th 2005 by Johno 0 stars

25. Well put, Johno. It's amazing how little regulation there is for the ultra-light aircraft industry. Try Googling "Death by Mini-500" and draw your own conclusions. Even if they get a ballistic chute working, how high would you have to fly to use it? One good point is that engine they developed may save the company, as it may prove a popular replacement for the unreliable two strokes commonly used in ultra-light aircraft. However, only real flight time will prove it. I hope they continue to develop and market that engine.

Posted at 12:55PM on Sep 7th 2005 by H. Elle Smart 0 stars

26. Johno & Elle Smart are the only folks on this thread with somewhat of a real grasp on the Airscooter/Aerotwin. The truth be known, the Airscooter is a deffinate death trap and an attempt by a collection of non-aviation bafoons to get a foot in the door of the ultralight helicopter market. None of them have any real aviation experience. The so called ballistic recovery idea will never work as more likely than not (90% chance) it will simply bouce off one of the main rotors upon release. Building a helicopter without autorotation capability is the pinacle of stupidity. As for the Aerotwin motor, maybe some day they will get it together if they begin listening to experienced aviation advisors. Untill then it's nothing more than a bad pipe dream & a money pit for the investor suckers.

Posted at 7:10PM on Sep 10th 2005 by John Swat 0 stars

27. i am interested in starting on this RC heli hobby... well i visited some site while on the job, but icant find a local(phil) store or online store where i could get a starter kit rc heli... do you have any idea how much it would cost me?

Posted at 8:04PM on Sep 11th 2005 by roel 0 stars

28. Hi Roel -- First visit this site and read the whole thing! This guy really knows his RC helicopters and I think he is an engineer as well. Lots of good advice. Be sure to start with a simulator unless you want to crash and fix instead of fly. As for where to order, I've had good luck with

If you want to start with a good radio that you will keep for many years and an iternal combustion engine powered model, plan on spending around $1200 plus another $200 on specialized tools (pitch guage, ball link pliers, etc.). If you just want to get started flying as cheaply as possible, get the electric model called "The Blade CP" by E-Flight. It's about $220 but you'll have to use Google to find some in stock and order over the internet - it's very popular. It comes with everything you need and is ready to fly (every model has been flight tested). It has real "collective pitch" unlike other electrics in this price range with "fixed pitch" which are MUCH harder to fly.

Good Luck

Posted at 9:36AM on Sep 13th 2005 by H. Elle Smart 0 stars

29. AirScooter (..currently unknown - ground floor opportunity..) is a Public Company. You can buy shares of stock in 'ASCO' for a mere $1.85+/-. By early Novermber, it should be much more expensive, as the IR/PR and media campagin on the AirScooter and AirScout will start in a week or so. See if you need a low-cost brokerage account.

This is your chance to buy into "..The Wright Brothers Incoporated - 2005.." before the thundering herd gets their hands on it. It's currently listed on the Pinksheets, but will move up to the OTCBB, Nasdaq, or AMEX exchange very soon.

In my humble opinion, as an electrical engineer and licensed commercial/multi pilot, every red-blooded American should own a minumum of 100 shares of ASCO as a simple matter of "..patriotic duty..". These are the kind of efforts that build America and make us strong.

The Military is already looking at both the manned and unmanned (UAV - UCAV) versions of the AirScooter, and the new AeroTwin engines for battlefield generators and pumps.

Since the AirScooter costs less than a Corvette, I'm planniig on buying one by mid-2006.

John :-)

Posted at 2:39PM on Oct 5th 2005 by John Hollen 0 stars

30. John,

Why would an "electrical engineer and licensed commercial/multi pilot" recommend investing in a machine (unproven) that is guaranteed to crash when the engine (also unproven) fails? As with any fixed pitch rotary bladed machine, the blades stop within two or three seconds of the engine quitting while providing suddenly decreasing, and no useful lift whatsoever. As of now, there is still no ballistic chute for the machine - it's just vaporware. Even at only 15 feet of altitude at 40 MPH, an engine failure would likely prove fatal. Higher altitudes only produce less chances of survival. I doubt if the company’s lawyers would even allow sale of the manned vehicle should they not be able to incorporate a ballistic chute capable of safe return to earth from the recommended (low) altitudes. Would you really risk your life on this or are you just hoping more people will buy stock? Your web site seems to be all about buying stock in this company. “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is”. How many aircraft has the inventor designed before? (Answer - NONE!!!). Don’t get me wrong, it really looks like a blast to fly, but not without a proper safety margin. Take care and fly safe.

H. Elle Smart

Posted at 3:20PM on Oct 13th 2005 by H. Elle Smart 0 stars

31. (ASCO related News): NZ engine for 'airscooter' flies offshore
07.09.05 1.00pm - By Simon Louisson

The development of an engine to power a back-to-the-future mini helicopter has been a triumph for kiwi ingenuity but an embarrassment for kiwi implementation.

United States company AirScooter Corp last week announced its unit AeroTwin had issued its first US patent for the lightweight engine, which was designed in Christchurch.

Instead of being manufactured in Christchurch as AirScooter wanted, the two-cylinder, 65-horsepower, four-stroke engine is being made in Fort Worth, Texas, under licence.

With three, four and six-cylinder versions also to be built in Texas, a multi-million dollar business with dozens of high skilled jobs will be lost to New Zealand.

In fact, AirScooter is so excited by the engine that it sees its future more with the engine than its futuristic helicopters that already fly and recently featured on CBS's 60 Minutes television programme.

The story of the engine began in the 1990s when Christchurch company Pegasus Aviation developed a twin-cylinder, four-stroke motor that it billed as the first locally built aircraft engine since aviation pioneer Richard Pearse took to the sky nearly a century earlier.

After four years of development, and an investment of nearly $1 million, Pegasus was set to produce 500 engines a year. It made sales to Australia and the United States, including AirScooter. But it all ended in tears. Pegasus' developers had problems keeping down the costs of lightweight materials used in the engine and some parts were inadequate. The engines and the company fell apart.

However, AirScooter was so desperate for a suitable engine, it persisted with some of those involved in Pegasus, including engineer Bill White, who came to the project late to try and rectify problems, and director Stuart Pearson.

AirScooter president Dwaine Barnes told NZPA that AirScooter wanted an alternative to the noisy, smelly, high revving two-stroke engines it was using. It didn't want to design and build an engine and searched the world with little success before lighting on the Pegasus engine.

Asked why AirScooter persisted after Pegasus's collapse, Mr Barnes said: "The bottom line was that Bill White and his connections had motor cycle engine experience and that's why we stayed."

AirScooter worked through Mr Pearson's Pearson Motor Corp (PMC), which was essentially established to manage Mr White's engineering company W L White.

A unique aspect of AirScooter's chopper is that the pilot does not require a licence. Under US flying rules pilots of aircraft under 116kg don't need one.

AirScooter requested PMC to develop an engine lighter than 36kg. As well, the engine had to run vertically, have a dry sump, be four-stroke and deliver 65 horsepower at 4600rpm.

"The greatest challenge was the weight," Mr Pearson said. The engine has yet to meet the weight requirement for the AirScooter.

"We moved ahead rather than conjure on the weight issue because AirScooter are looking also at using this engine for microlight aircraft and there are much greater sales for aircraft than there are for helicopters."

The weight issue could be solved by using lighter materials such as magnesium for aluminium.

Mr Pearson said New Zealanders developed the engine because "we had the guts to do it".

"American companies don't seem to want to venture into that sort of thing. They would have to hire a dozen experts, each to do a different task. They have a different mindset.

"We just get stuck in and do everything ourselves where there they seem to do everything by committee.

"In the States you have an expert in each field and they all have to get together, but nothing ever gets done, and it costs a hell of a lot of money. In the States this would have cost $10 million, whereas we do it for less than one."

However, it seems New Zealanders, in this case, needed some US skills in corporate management.

Pegasus was riven with internal squabbling and, depending on who you speak to, PMC and AirScooter parted ways two years ago even though AirScooter still owns 30 per cent of PMC.

Mr Pearson blamed lack of access to finance, the bursting of the high tech bubble and the rise of the New Zealand dollar for the engine not being developed here.

When the economic situation changed, AirScooter retrenched.

It stalled on development funding "which left me high and dry". Mr Pearson was forced to sell down his rights to the engine.

"I was not able to find any finance to set up a manufacturing company because at that stage I hadn't proven a product.

"No one is interested because it was a one-man band and no believes it's possible to do and everyone thought it was ridiculous that we try and develop an engine in New Zealand."

Venture capital funds were even less enthusiastic than banks.

"The only way to continue was look at investment from the States and licence manufacturing there."

But Mr White, who Mr Barnes said was the brains behind the AeroTwin engine, disputes the claim over lack of finance. He said Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton and his ministry were very willing to help along with others.

"The Americans were very happy to have the motor made here and they would have funded the manufacture here.

"The reality was the Pearson Motor Company didn't want to take on the responsibility of manufacturing the motors here.

"It's not fair to say New Zealand wasn't ready to support the endeavour. It would be unfortunate to blame the local infrastructure," Mr White said.

"Jim Anderton and his associates would have supported it and the Canterbury Chambers of Commerce and Tech New Zealand."

Mr White, who worked on Rolls Royce and Bentley motors and had New Zealand's military vehicles used in Bosnia built to his specifications, said there was a suitable foundry willing to contribute funding and skilled workers were available.

"The Americans were never intending to be engine builders but said 'okay, if you won't do it, we will'."

However, Mr Pearson said it was lack of a backer, not lack of will that was the problem.

"It was a pipedream to make it here."

In the end AirScooter picked up the dropped ball and ran with it. Mr White was seconded to Fort Worth to set up a testing and manufacturing facility. For his troubles he was gifted "several hundred thousand" shares in the "pink sheet" listed AirScooter.

Although the US military, and law enforcement agencies have shown interest in the AirScooter, Mr Barnes' focus has shifted to the AeroTwin engine. Around 2500 ultralights (microlights) sell every year in the US and he has had plenty of interest in the engine from France, Germany, Australia and South America.

The AirScooter will sell for around US$50,000 ($71,350) and the AeroTwin engine will cost around US$6500.

"We could become an engine manufacturing company first and foremost because of the numbers and interest level we've gotten in this engine," he said.

Deliveries of the first AeroTwin motors are expected to be made to selected customers next month.



Posted at 8:26PM on Nov 8th 2005 by John Hollen 0 stars

32. I guess the people at Airscooter inc. agree with my comments of Sept. 7 (see above). If they can produce this motor and keep it light, powerful, reliable and not too expensive, there's a huge market out there. I wish them the best. Two stroke engines frequently give no warning prior to quitting and are overly sensitive to altitude and temperature changes. I've never had one quit on me in the air (in 20 years), but I never full idle it while in flight, and constantly monitor how much smoke is coming out, and if it "sounds" right. I have landed many times to change a main jet because the sun came out and warmed it up (needs to be a richer mixture)or it got colder.
I have communicated with Airscooter directly about a safety chute but have seen nothing yet. I fear they will never get the manned version to market since the chute would have to be deployed from a stationary pod above the rotors. It would be expensive running a static shaft through the center of rotating mass. As for all the publicity and raising of stock prices "by early November", it didn't happen. It may have even dropped a little.

Fly Safe

Posted at 10:27AM on Nov 10th 2005 by H. Elle Smart 0 stars

33. (Subscriber eMail):

CNN Segment: a short segment on AirScooter will run on CNN this weekend sometime during the following news hour times:
Saturday, November 19th 11:00AM – Noon (EST) 5:00PM – 6:00PM (EST)
Sunday, November 20th 4:00PM – 5:00PM (EST) 7:00PM – 8:00PM (EST)

Thank you for your continued interest in AirScooter products.



Posted at 2:50PM on Nov 19th 2005 by John Hollen 0 stars

34. Hi Everyone,

Here it is December and this stock is still at the last sold price of $1.85. John - where is the publicity you said was going to happen? Where are the huge stock price increases? When can anyone buy one of these death traps? Where is the safety chute they were "doing research" on? It's not there because (IMNSHO) they know they'll never bring the manned scooter to market. The answer is (as little Annie sings...)

Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way!

By the way everyone, The poster named John Hollan, who evidently wants you to spend your hard earned money making him a fortune by driving the price of this stock up in a stampede (his apparent fantasy), has never answered or interacted with anyone on this forum. He just drops his spam here, and goes on to the next forum to do the same, never bothering to read or respond to anything.

Am I correct John? I can't hear you!! What? you just want me to throw money at you and shut up?
Oh, I see!!

Posted at 11:20AM on Dec 8th 2005 by H. Elle Smart 0 stars

35. I got a post-Christmas call-back from one of the ASCO crew. There are about a dozen fully-completed and operational engines as of Monday. They are building up more in both Houston and Australia. Several of those are for AirScooters that they want to have flying time on very soon, per the plan to do the USA demo-tours.

"....Moving right along.....................



Posted at 2:04AM on Dec 28th 2005 by john 0 stars

36. Hello again everyone,

Here it is the beginning of January 2006 and the last sold price of the stock has gone down to $1.75. I would say it's gone down to a basement opportunity rather than a ground floor one. As to the engines they are building, no one yet knows if they will last and be reliable. What good will it do to build more and more engines until they are proven? Where is the safety chute they've been talking about? They can't sell these scooters without them yet they are strangely silent about any progress incorporating this virtually mandatory equipment. The cost for this equipment would be in the neighborhood of $5000 to $7000 minimum (installed) depending on how many mods they would need to provide a non rotating platform above the rotors.

Don't hold your breath on this one.

H. Elle Smart

Posted at 5:14PM on Jan 5th 2006 by H. Elle Smart 0 stars

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Engadget Mobile

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The Wireless Report

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Download Squad

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HD Beat

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PSP Fanboy

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