I was at the Maker Faire in San Francisco last weekend and saw the new Vex Explorer on the Revell stand. I was told that it would be available at the end of July for a price of $199. Apparently the mechanics are downward compatible to the existing Vex system, but the controller is not.
The biggest surprise for me was that the controller is not programmable. The unit can only be controlled by a remote control. To upgrade to a programmable system you need to buy the existing Vex controller. Cost was given as the reason for not including a programmable controller.
The mechanical gripper and camera were pretty neat. I asked if Revell intends to sell the components separately, and I was told that, except for the camera, there are no plans to do this. I made the point to the rep that existing users would really like to buy the gripper separately and also the new mechnical pieces. I gather many other people had told him the same thing and he was taking this message back to Revell.