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 Mattel and Google are partnering to make just that: A Google Cardboard-powered View-Master.
Because the new View-Master is basically just a phone-powered VR headset just like Google's cardboard headsets or even Gear VR, there's no room for you to slot the old, iconic View-Master reels into this thing. They're still around though! Instead of loading them up in the headset, you just place them on the table and look at them through the View-Master (using the View-Master app), and you'll see graphics popping up out of them.
View-Master refers to the reels as "experience disks," which will function sort of like physical 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 Cardboard-powered headsets that are out there. Mattel insists — without a super clear explanation — that it will support phones of all sizes and operating systems, presumably through a View-Master app that will appear on iOS, in addition to all the Google Cardboard stuff you're able to find on Android.
The new View-Master will be available in late 2015. It has an approximate release date of October and an approximate price of $US30 for the headset and one experience disk.