Google and toymaker Mattel issued a joint press invitation today to a mystery event where the duo will make a new product debut. On Feb. 13 in New York City, just in time for the annual Toy Fair conference, the world will "view what's possible" from this partnership. For us children of the 80s, you'll note the invitation graphics bring View-Master reels immediately to mind.
It's impossible to say exactly what Mattel and Google will unveil. But, it's safe to say it will be family friendly with a distinct children's toy angle. This may be the first step in a series of announcements related to kid-friendly services from Google. YouTube for kids is rumored to be on the horizon, and the company recently acquired Launchpad Toys for its Toontastic iPad app. Perhaps Google Cardboard will be meshed with the View-Master concept.
Google Cardboard is a fold-out cardboard smartphone mount that was introduced at Google I/O 2014. When combined with lenses, a magnet and a rubber band, with an Android smartphone mounted inside, a virtual reality experience opens up. Google offers a download kit to make your own, or you can buy one of several options on the company's website, starting around $14.99. The application creation for this device is completely open source.
View-Master, first introduced in 1939, were special-format stereoscopes that featured reels of cardboard that contained 3D pairs of photographs. These reels varied in content from historic landmarks to farm animals. There have been 25 models introduced throughout the years and 1.5 billion reels made. The toy was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2011.