Telstra runs out of free Google Cardboard viewers ahead of New Year’s Eve

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When Telstra first announced it had joined forces with the City of Sydney to make a New Year’s experience like none other and give our Google Cardboard units to let people partake in a virtual way, we wondered how long it would be until it ran out of stock.

Turns out the answer is not long at all, as Telstra has run out of Google Cardboard units to give away.

Load up the New Year’s app this week for Telstra and the City of Sydney, and when you head to the “360° Video” section, you will instead see a notice telling you that the “allocation of free Google Cardboard is now exhausted,” and that you can instead grab one of these gadgets by finding them online using the search term “Google Cardboard.”

In fact, it looks as though the stock dried up only a few days after our story went live last week, as GadgetGuy heard stories that there were no new allocations being made over the weekend.

A representative for Telstra told GadgetGuy that it had “experienced an unprecedented amount of interest in the free Google Cardboard units being offered through the Sydney NYE Telstra App,” with a confirmation later on that there were 2000 Cardboard units allocated for the promotion, an allocation which had dried up.

That said, the 360 degree views that will be run of the fireworks in Sydney on New Year’s Eve will still be compatible with most smartphones without the Cardboard headset, but that if you wanted the immersive experience that virtual reality delivers — even the budget VR that Google Cardboard allows — you’ll need to go online and order your own, as Telstra won’t be paying for them from here on in.

To do that, you can do exactly what Telstra suggests, and search for “Google Cardboard” online, opting to either make one yourself or buy an after-market version that can be found from any number of online e-tailers.

You’ll probably want to do it soon if you’re to experience the virtual reality based fireworks, though these won’t be viewable in real time, as a later confirmation from Telstra found the videos would go online an hour or so past midnight on January 1, 2015, rather than live at the time.

That said, we’d be surprised if Telstra didn’t leave the videos around for a longer time, letting people experience the fireworks again and again, so you probably have a fair bit more time than just the few weeks away New Year’s Eve is.


UPDATE (6:40pm): Telstra has come back and told us that there were 2000 units of Google Cardboard for this promotion, so we’ve updated the story accordingly.