Google Glass Code Released to Developers

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-04-29

Google Glass Code Released to Developers

Google Glass apps development can now get under way in a big way, now that Google has released the open-source Android-based kernel code for its Glass project.

The Linux code was released on April 27 on the Google Glass kernel source Web page for now, but another Website will likely be established for the code, according to the post.

"Currently there is a tarball [Linux distribution package] of the kernel source in downloads," wrote the administrator of the page. "This is unlikely to be the permanent home for the kernel source, it should be pushed into git [version control system] next to all other android kernel source releases relatively soon, at which point, I'll update this notice."

Interested developers can download the code from the site. By April 29, the file was downloaded more than 6,985 times.

The release of the open source code will certainly inspire lots of innovative uses for Glass, which so far doesn't have a lot of apps that are available. In March, the first few third-party apps were demonstrated at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, where Google showed potential users some examples of what they can actually do with the innovative, eyewear-mounted computer that is Glass. Among the apps unveiled at the conference were a news app that delivered headlines and photos from The New York Times, an email app and a note-creation app for Evernote.

The basic components of Glass are an Android-powered display, a tiny Webcam, a GPS locator and an Internet connection node built into one side of a pair of glasses.

The first Google Glass units began shipping earlier this month to developers who signed up at last June's Google I/O conference to buy an early set for $1,500 for testing and development.  Google also then began shipping Glass units to lucky users who were selected in a contest for the opportunity to buy their own early versions of Glass.  In February, Google expanded its nascent test project for its Glass eyewear-mounted computer by inviting interested applicants to submit proposals for a chance to buy an early model and become a part of its continuing development. In March, Google also began notifying a pool of applicants who were selected to purchase the first 8,000 sets of Google Glass when they become available for real-world use and testing later this year by consumers. Those selected applicants are beginning to receive their units in waves.

Each Google Glass device includes adjustable nose pads and a high-resolution display that Google says is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from 8 feet away. The glasses also boast a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p. Audio is delivered to the wearer through their bones, using a bone-conduction transducer that previously had been revealed in earlier reports.

Google Glass Code Released to Developers

Glass also includes WiFi 802.11b/g connectivity, Bluetooth and 16GB of memory, of which 12GB is usable and synced with Google's cloud storage. The battery that powers Glass is expected to provide a typical day's use, while some activities, including heavy use of Google+ Hangouts and performing video recording, will deplete the battery more quickly.

Glass comes with its own dedicated micro-USB cable and charger. Glass is built to be compatible with any Bluetooth-capable phone, while its companion MyGlass app requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher.

Early users wasted no time trying out their new devices and reporting how they are working to the rest of us on posts on Google+, Twitter and other Websites.

Not everyone who bought a Google Glass device, however, planned on using it for themselves. At least one Google Glass buyer has already tried to sell a pair on eBay but came up against Google's rules that forbid the sale or loan of the devices, reported The auction for Glass had soared to $95,300 before the alleged seller realized that Google's terms of service didn't permit such a transaction.

The Glass project was unveiled officially for the first time to developers at last June's Google I/O conference. Google Glass is not expected to be widely available to consumers until 2014, according to the company.

Earlier in April, Google's investment arm, Google Ventures, launched a "Glass Collective" organization to seek out and nurture startups that can add features and capabilities to the Glass project.

In March, it was reported that the head-mounted Glass devices would be assembled in Santa Clara, Calif., by well-known Taiwanese device builder Foxconn to showcase electronics manufacturing capabilities in the United States.

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