Carriers reject idea of phone kill switchYou can't count on carriers to fight smartphone theft with a "kill switch," Google Glass gets some more useful apps, and the Xbox One packs in new TV features to compete with the PlayStation 4.
It's time to get tough against Smartphone theft. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. Smartphone theft is becoming an increasing problem, and to stop it, some lawmakers are pushing for cell phones to have a kill switch so that if your phone is stolen, it's turned into a useless paperweight and criminals would be discouraged from stealing it. But the mobile carriers are rejecting the idea. Samsung tried to incorporate this technology in its phones, but the major US carriers wouldn't approve of Samsung's anti-theft software. Well, why is that? Because the carriers could lose money. Right now, there is lots of profit to be made from customers that pay for these monthly insurance plans or from those that need to buy a new phone because of theft. The lobbying group for the wireless industry, the CTIA, published papers saying that it doesn't support the idea of a kill switch because of the risks that come with permanently disabling a phone. As it stands now, the carriers can stop stolen phones from being used for calls or text on a cellular network, but the phone would still work over Wi-Fi and it can be used in other countries. So it's up to you to be prepared to know what measures you can take if your phone is stolen. Android, Windows, and iOS all have different tools for tracking down, locking, and wiping data remotely, and you can check out the Update blog for a link with more details on how each system works. More advanced apps are being made for the Google Glass headpiece. Google is giving developers new tools to build more complicated apps, and it's revealing some potential cool uses for Glass. A new Word Lens app translates text into a different language. Strava is a tool for tracking the distance of bike rides or runs so you don't need to take your phone out during a workout. Golfers can use Glass to get facts about the course and how far they are from the green. And users can get cooking instructions through the small screen with the app Allthecooks. In our last Update show, you learned about Moga's new iPhone game controller case. Well, Logitech has begun selling its own now. It's the PowerShell Controller, available for the same price of $100. This snap-on controller also has a built-in battery, and it makes it easier to play complex iOS 7 games. It ships in December. Be sure to check out CNET's review of the XBox One. Microsoft's new console hits stores Friday, and it has tons of new TV features to control your cable box. But it doesn't have full DVR integration. The system has plenty of perks, but our reviewer found that connect voice commands don't always work. It just didn't deliver a knockout blow against the PlayStation 4 which came out last week for $100 less. That's your tech news update, but you can find more details on the show blog cnet.com/update and follow along on Twitter. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey.