Talking tech since 2003

Happy Sunday, folks! It’s time for another edition of the Weekend Wrap-Up, where we gather the top tech stories from the past week, bundle them together and wrap them up with a nice little bow on top. Companies making headlines in the last seven days include Apple, Google, Samsung and… Mattel? Yes, Mattel. The company that makes Barbie dolls.

Keep reading to find out why.

The Apple Car? It Could Be a Thing

You can type up a document on your MacBook or iMac. You can call someone (okay, text someone) on your iPhone. You can read and watch movies on your iPad. And, soon, you’ll be able to knock out a variety of actions from your wrist with your Apple Watch. But what if, at the end of the day, you jumped into your Apple Car and commanded it to take you home? Reports from this past week indicate that there may be some validity to this rumor, as Apple has silently wooed around 50 former Tesla employees into Cupertino. The thought is, these employees are almost certainly working on some kind of automobile. But is it a simple electric vehicle, or something more advanced, such as the autonomous cars Google is testing? We’ll undoubtedly see more unearthed about this in the near future.

google-walletGoogle is Creating an Apple Pay Rival

If you’re silly like me, you thought Google would be content to try and run its Google Wallet service against Apple Pay, since it did technically launch first. But perhaps there is some wisdom in a refresh. Google is reportedly planning to challenge Apple Pay with a brand new solution called Plaso, which would enable consumers to check out at retailers by providing their initials to cashiers. I have to be honest — this doesn’t sound as iron-clad as using a fingerprint scanner to validate identity, but if Google is trying to cover as many Android devices as possible (including those with very basic hardware), it makes sense. Will the idea fly, though? That’s another story, and one we don’t have yet.

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Will Apparently Ship with Microsoft Apps

Samsung and Microsoft haven’t exactly been best buds, but that doesn’t mean the two companies are against joining forces against Google — even if they’re doing it on Google’s own platform. Samsung’s next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S6, will reportedly come with preinstalled Microsoft apps, such as Office Mobile, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype. Microsoft will also be throwing in free Office 365 subscriptions to sweeten the deal. This could help steer consumers away from Google’s own office apps, but there won’t be anything stopping users from downloading and using Google apps if they prefer them. We’ll bring you more on this new alliance as we get it.

Mattel Teams with Google for VR View-Master

Okay, you finally get to hear about why Mattel is making big technology news this week. Do you remember the View-Master? Decades ago, it was just a neat way to look at 3D photos, which were stored on cardboard wheels that could be inserted into the device. Now, thanks to Google and its Cardboard VR platform, the View-Master is about to experience a resurgence as a smartphone-powered virtual reality headset. The new VR View-Master looks a lot like the old-school model from way back; the difference this time around is that the device will team with an Android smartphone, and will do away with 3D photos in favor of full 3D virtual reality. A sizzle video showed someone experiencing a VR tour of various San Francisco landmarks, for example. No word yet on when the updated View-Master will drop, but when we know, so will you.

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