Google Glass Development Kit to Give Devs More Design Capabilities

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-11-20
Google Glass

Google Glass Development Kit to Give Devs More Design Capabilities

The Google Glass project has unveiled an upcoming new Glass Development Kit, which will allow developers to gain even broader control and innovation in their next designs and features for Google Glass apps.

A "sneak peek" of the new GDK was announced Nov. 19 at a Google Hackathon for developers, according to a Google+ post by Timothy Jordan, a senior developer advocate at Google.  "Developers have started building great Glassware with the Mirror API and today will have even broader access to Glass with a Sneak Peek of the Glass Development Kit," he wrote. Jordan's post also includes a YouTube video of his presentation, which laid out many of the new capabilities that the GDK will offer to Glass developers.

The APIs for the upcoming new GDK aren't yet finalized, according to Google, but developers can read about what's coming in the pipeline at the Google Developers Website. The GDK is an add-on to the Android Software Developers Kit that lets developers build Glass apps, called Glassware, that run directly on Glass. Unlike the Mirror API, Glassware built with the GDK runs on Glass itself, allowing access to low-level hardware features, according to Google.

"The full GDK Developer Preview will be available in the coming weeks," wrote Jordan. "We can't wait to start working on this next chapter of Glass Development with you."

In a related Google+ post, Google revealed that five additional useful and innovative Glass apps are now available for use by Glass Explorer users. The new apps were built using the new GDK, according to Google.

"To give you a taste of what's possible, we're launching 5 new Glassware [apps] from Strava, Allthecooks Recipes, Word Lens, GLU and GolfSight," the post reports. "These were all built on the new platform and have transformed some of our favorite activities in really exciting ways."

The new Allthecooks app offers Glass users a unique way to cook by following recipes while wearing Glass. "No more flour and chopped garlic on your keyboard!" states the post. "View recipes and cooking directions hands-free. You can also record and post your own with Allthecooks for Glass."

Athletic users of Glass will be interested in the new Strava app, which lets users record their rides and runs, track their progress and get segment notifications and performance results, all while hands-free on Glass.

Word game lovers using Glass will be intrigued by Spellista by GLU, which is described in the post as "a simple and fun word jumble game for Glass." The game also lets users create their own levels via Glass and share the games to play with their friends.

The new Wordlens app allows users to "instantly translate printed words in front of you, just by looking at them with Glass," which could be very useful for travelers.

Golf fans are also included in the latest round of Glass apps. GolfSight by SkyDroid "is the all-in-one Golf companion" that gives users the distances for their latest golf shots, abilities to keep score and information about the golf course as the players play, according to the post.

Glass Explorer users can download and install the new apps from the Glass Website.

Google Glass Development Kit to Give Devs More Design Capabilities

Earlier in November, Glass users were treated to device software updates that added several improvements, including the ability to access their personalized Google Calendar appointments and upcoming events while using Glass. Also added in the update is an easier first-time set-up process and simpler commands for using Glass to go to work or to get home.

In October, Google began a new Glass program that allows existing users to invite up to three friends to buy their own eyewear-mounted computers now, before they go on sale to the general public sometime later this year. The invite-a-friend program is being viewed by Google as a way to expand its Glass Explorer Program, which is the name used for the first test users of the innovative devices. Existing early Glass users will also now have a one-time chance to trade in their current Glass devices for the latest model, which includes improvements and updates.

Google Glass has been a topic of conversation among techies since news of it first arrived in 2012. The first Google Glass units began shipping in April 2013 to developers who signed up at the June 2012 Google I/O conference to buy an early set for $1,500 for testing and development, at which it was the hit of the conference. Google also then began shipping Glass units to lucky users who were selected in the #ifihadglass contest for the opportunity to buy their own early versions of Glass.

Each Google Glass device includes adjustable nose pads and a high-resolution display that Google said is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from 8 feet away. The glasses also feature a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p. Audio is delivered to wearers through their bones, using bone-conduction transducers.

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