When Google introduced its Cardboard VR headset, there was an easy point of reference; it's like a View-Master, but with full-on virtual reality. And now, the marriage is official because View-Master maker Mattel and Google are partnering for a full-on Google Cardboard-powered version:
Because the new View-Master is basically just a phone-powered VR headset just like Google's Cardboard headsets or even Samsung's Gear VR, there's no room for you to slot the old, iconic cardboard disks into this thing. They're still around, though – but Instead of loading them up in the headset, you just place them on the table and look at them through the goggles to see graphics popping up out of them.
Mattel refers to the reels as "experience disks", which will function as if physical, AI-like representations of the various special View-Master specific apps you have. You'll be able to use the View-Master without any of the special disks, of course, as you would any other Google Cardboard-powered headsets, but View-Master's specific, family-friendly apps will come in the form of the reels.
The new View-Master has a few advantages over other headsets that are out there, though. Mattel insists – without a super clear explanation – that it will support every phone on the market, regardless of size or operating system, presumably through a View-Master app that will appear on iOS, in addition to all the stuff you're able to find on Android.
It will be on sale this autumn – October was suggested, in the US-only initially – for an approximate price of about $30 for the headset and one experience disk (UK price incoming).