Glasstomer service: Scotland airport reps don Google's high-tech specs

Jared Newman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Customer service workers at Scotland's Edinburgh airport will be getting some help from Google Glass while assisting travel-weary passengers.

The airport's check-in hall team will wear Glass as a trial run through the end of this year, The Scotsman reports. Airport representatives will be able to translate documents, look up flight information and answer other questions without toting a tablet or standing near a computer terminal. The goal, chief executive Gordon Dewar said, is to “establish whether this product is suitable for an airport environment.”

Why this matters: It's another sign that Google Glass' killer apps are in the enterprise, rather than consumer markets. For customer service representatives, Glass doesn't need to be fashionable as much as it needs to be useful, and if the software works as expected, it might help outweigh any anxieties customers have about approaching someone with a face computer.

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The Basis Peak wants to be the first heart-rate monitoring wristband that isn't a joke

Jon Phillips Editor-in-Chief, PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Jon is the Editor-in-Chief of PCWorld, Macworld, Greenbot & TechHive. He's been covering all manner of consumer hardware since 1995.
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It’s finally arrived: an activity-tracking wristband that promises accurate, real-time heart rate monitoring during the heat of exercise. The Basis Peak is lighter, slimmer, brighter and more elegant than the Basis wearable it replaces, and when it goes on sale in early November for $200, it stands a good chance of restoring dignity to the heart-rate monitoring space. 

Make no mistake, most wrist-worn wearables have laughable heart-rate tracking features. They can only do heart rate “spot checks” that report how fast your ticker is ticking when you stop whatever you’re doing, and keep your body perfectly still like a terrified squirrel. It’s a quaint feature at best—when the devices work. Their performance is usually inconsistent, but of course you already know this if you own one of Samsung’s many wearables, including the Gear Fit.

basis peak on wrist Jon Phillips

Compared to earlier Basis models, the Peak has a lower-profile design, and is made of forged aluminum instead of plastic. The new display is also brighter and higher contrast.

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Apple Watch is about more than technology: It's fashion

Michael Simon Contributor, Macworld

Michael Simon has been obsessed with Apple since before there was an "I" in fanboy.
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As he concluded the inaugural iPad event back in January 2010, Steve Jobs summed up Apple’s mission in a single slide. Two street signs were labeled Technology and Liberal Arts, and he explained that Apple operates at the intersection. With Apple Watch, Apple seems to have added a new cross-street: fashion.

Where good looks have always been somewhat secondary to Apple devices usability, the company’s first wearable is all about style, so much so that for its first public appearance Apple chose one of the hippest boutiques in Paris during Fashion Week, not the Apple Store at Carrousel du Louvre.

i of the beholder

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Moto 360 owners reporting improved battery life with new update

Derek Walter , Greenbot Follow me on Google+

Derek Walter is a freelance technology writer based in Northern California. He is the author of Learning MIT App Inventor, a hands-on guide to building your own Android apps.
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An update to the Moto 360 appears to dramatically improve battery life. Many owners are claiming double the longevity in a reddit discussion, which is a welcome change to a device that struggles in this area. 

The impact on you at home: Get this update. Our review of the Moto 360 found rather paltry battery life, and that was a significant factor in making it hard to recommend. If the battery life has really improved this dramatically, the first round Android Wear watch might be worth your while. You may not get as much extra run time as some in the forum are claiming, but the evidence points to at least some kind of improvement.

A new battery game

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Pebble fends off Android Wear with $50 Best Buy discount

Jared Newman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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If you're looking to impulse-buy a smartwatch, Best Buy is currently selling the plastic Pebble watch for $100.

That's a $50 discount off the regular price. The deal—first spotted by CNET—is listed as a sale price on Best Buy only; Pebble's own website is still selling its plastic smartwatch for $150.

Why it matters: While this appears to be a limited-time offer, it could be a sign that Pebble is looking to push prices lower as it faces new competition. Several watches running Android Wear are now available for $200 and up, and the Apple Watch is coming early next year for $350 and up. Pebble already positions itself as a simpler alternative to those devices, and it could become a much cheaper option as well.

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Even with Google Glass, texting while driving is still unsafe

Jared Newman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Texting while driving with Google Glass might seem safer than typing on a smartphone, but it's actually just as much of a distraction, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida set up a driving simulation in which test subjects had to slam the brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of them while simultaneously trying to send text messages. The test found no significant difference in reaction time between drivers who dictated messages with Glass and drivers who typed the message on an Android smartphone.

Why it matters: In theory, Glass should be as good as it gets for texting by voice while driving, as the head-mounted display lets users keep their eyes forward. This new study shows that interacting with a computer is a distraction no matter which way your eyes are facing. Studies like this could have legal implications as Google lobbies lawmakers to allow Glass behind the wheel, and as more auto makers add voice dictation features to their vehicles.

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Samsung Gear S heading to major U.S. carriers with call routing trickery

Jared Newman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Samsung has managed to get the support of all four major U.S. carriers for its Gear S smartwatch, but watch out for that fine print.

Unlike Samsung's previous smartwatches, the Gear S has 3G and cellular connectivity built in, so it can make voice calls, send text messages and connect to the Internet without being tethered to a smartphone over Bluetooth. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless will all support the watch when it launches this fall, Samsung said in a press release.

When Samsung announced the Gear S earlier this month, it didn't give any details on how carrier support would work, but the fine print in an AT&T press release gives a clue of what to expect:

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