BOULDER - Sphero, the robotic ball controlled by a smartphone, is rolling closer to its big break and will now be sold in 1,200 Targets across the country.

Orbotix Inc., the Boulder-based company that manufactures Sphero, announced the rollout last week.

Being carried by Target is a major milestone for the company, chief executive Paul Berberian said. Orbotix was founded in 2010 and its cofounders, Ian Bernstein and Adam Wilson, went through the TechStars Boulder startup accelerator that summer.

Orbotix has used a savvy social media and web campaign to market Sphero, and highlights in the company's young history include a well received debut at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. President Barack Obama gave Sphero a test drive during a trip to Boulder this spring.

While the buzz - along with $11 million in investment from venture capitalists - has made Orbotix a standout among Boulder startups, Sphero needs greater exposure and a place on large retailers' shelves to reach the company's lofty goals, Berberian said.

"The name of the game in consumer electronics and gaming is getting in front of customers," Berberian said. "We feel like we've been out there for a long time telling our story, but most people have never seen a Sphero. This is essentially our launch."

While Target is not the first retailer to carry Sphero - it also is available at Brookstones and some Apple Stores - Target's reach is far broader. Target is the third-largest retailer in the United States, according to the National Retail Federation.

Getting into a major retailer is a lot like getting stores of any size to carry a product.

"If you have something interesting, exciting and compelling, they'll take a chance on you," Berberian said.

Sphero will be stocked in the "app accessory" section, which is a new area in Target, Berberian said. The section will be near the consumer electronics section, he said.

Suggested retail price of the Sphero is $129.99.