Let's have some fun.

We always kind-of expect Glass to be Android based, but I was surprised to find just how Android based it was when I did a teardown of a Glass system dump. "Android based" is selling things a little short, Glass is Android, with just a few APKs piled on top. It reminds me a lot of Facebook home.

So, while I am still plugging away at my full review, I decided to take a bit of a break and see what happens when you try and run real Android apps on Glass.


It's actually pretty easy. Hook Glass up to a computer, enable debugging, fire up ADB, and a few commands later, you're out of the Glass OS sandbox and dropped into a real Android UI. There's a navigation bar, working buttons, and, well, everything. Install something like Nova Launcher and you'll even have a home screen.

Even cooler, this UI is almost, sort-of navigable with Glass's touchpad. Any app that works with a d-pad should work with Glass. Here's a video of me playing around with Nova, Chrome, and yes, Ingress.

Pointless? Kind of. But it's really fun!

Small video correction: Mike DiGiovanni has figured out that the Glass touchpad sends Tab and Shift+Tab, not up and down. That would explain why I can never seem to figure out what it's going to do next.

The official way to develop for Glass, the Mirror API, is pretty limited, but native apps give you full control over the hardware with many more possibilities. The only downside is that you'll need an external battery pack if you expect to seriously use this for something.

That's it for now; if I come up with any other neat projects I'll be sure to tell you about them. For now though, back to writing!

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    That's pretty nifty. The first use that pops in my mind is a movie player, hah.

    • Thomas’

      Hm, that's actually a nice usage scenario. Watching some stuff on Glass while in public transport would be way more relaxing* than using your smartphone :-)

      (* depending on how relaxing it actually is to look at Glass for a long time)

      • http://www.ScienceProUSA.com SciencePro

        Also, audio becomes an issue...no headphone jack on Glass, and as stated above, the bone conduction audio is not sufficient for that

  • http://reddit.com/ yo2boy

    Can you connect a bluetooth mouse to Glass?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      There's no Android settings app, so not easily.

      • marcusmaximus04

        Have you actually rooted it or just played around with adb pushing(I've never actually tried using adb on a non-rooted device... though I imagine it's capable of installing apps since the SDK does so)? If the former, you could always push the settings app as well...

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

          I haven't rooted it yet, I'll work on that later.

      • John Smith

        Although its probably a long hot why not try sideloading a bunch of AOSP stuff from a GNex ROM. Stuff like settings might work then

        • marcusmaximus04

          I believe settings relies on being a system app(run with root privileges) in order to function.

          • John Smith

            True, but glass can easily be rooted now anyway. I'm pretty sure the HW is nearly identical to the GNex anyway. It would be great if someone from the CM team had this, they already support the Nexus Q.

          • RitishOemraw

            Nexus Q was like a gNex, now glass is like a gNex.....they better out the next nexus because soon people's watches will be as powerfull as my phone :S

          • https://www.facebook.com/MusicalWolf Todd Wolf

            adb remount
            adb push locationof/settings.apk /system/app
            adb reboot

          • marcusmaximus04

            Doesn't that require adb root?

          • https://www.facebook.com/MusicalWolf Todd Wolf

            It depends on how locked down Glass is. If it's not set up to allow adb root access, the device may need to be rooted first. Custom AOSP roms have the option to allow adb root access, but they come rooted out of the flash. You could also try installing the apk to the system via adb install, it all just depends on Glass' s level of security.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

          I've gotten gapps to work on an emulator before (http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/10/22/getting-to-know-android-4-0-part-1-gmail-androids-most-important-app/), so I could definitely do that (and probably will at some point), but right now there isn't a reliable recovery method if I break something. Google needs to release some Glass images, and then I'll try and dump a full stack of phone apks into Glass.

  • nawa

    So it is possible to install Instagram and post photos right from Glass? Woah

  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    Ingress-in-the-face is pretty mind blowing too.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Updated battery life stats: 6 minutes.

    • Scott

      It's funny how battery life is always the center of attention with every mobile device.

      • Loren Cogar

        Ummm the battery is the thing that allows you to use your device...

      • draiko

        People care about how long they can use their mobile devices while mobile? Who would've thunk it.

      • letsplaaay

        I think that's why whichever company successfully commercializes the next generation battery will probably make a fortune.

    • Martim Cortez de Lobão

      Wow, are you kidding or does the battery seriously only last 6 minutes with Ingress? :O

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Kidding. Kind of. Maybe. Not really.

        I don't even have Glass. :-[

      • http://marsjana.net/ marsjaninzmarsa

        Irony, dude. :)

        • Martim Cortez de Lobão

          Well, since he's part of AP staff I wasn't sure :p

    • bL4Ck

      Funny how the main feature of Glass, making photos and videos on the go easily in any moment, seems to be the one that totally kills the battery, going from 100 to 0 with 30min of video recording isn't a nice prospective for standard consumer use, at least make it 1~2hr.

  • Sergio

    Hey Ron, what about the so called bone conduction audio? Is it there? If so, how good is its quality compared to regular headphones? And just one more thing: What's this thing's weight? Do you feel comfortable carrying them for a long time? As long as they're not symmetrical I guess its weight is not equally distributed either...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      "how good is its quality compared to regular headphones?"

      lolno. The bone conduction speaker is equivalent to a phone earpiece. It's just for notification chimes; it's not a quality thing for music. Glass doesn't support music in any way.

      The weight is 40g (my sunglasses are 25g) so it's possible to forget about them. I'm still getting used to them.

      • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

        The audio is just for notification chimes? I thought Glass could double as a bluetooth headset, with audio coming out of the bone conduction and using the mic to speak. O.o

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

          Sure, yeah, it can do that. My point was just that it's not for music.

          • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

            Thanks for the answer :-)
            A shame it can't do reasonable music quality. On-screen-lyrics while listening to music could've been another use-case

          • Aaron Ogle

            on screen lyrics + headphones.

          • Leo

            That will be glass 2. You have to start at the bottom to get to the top.

          • RitishOemraw

            Glass Mobile Karaoke!

          • Firehawkws7

            Just use headphones from your phone. You'll have it on you anyway.

      • Sergio

        Ok. We'll have to wait for this feature. Maybe not too much...

  • jonathan3579

    I'm wondering if someone will also try mirroring their phone on Glass. I could see it useful for Navigation and maybe a few other applications. Unless Glass can already show that.

  • John Smith

    Would it be possible to run BBQScreen and then switch back to glass home so that way you can stream it to a TV and not have to keep recording the actual glass?

  • Cherokee4Life

    Is it bad if I just skipped to the Ingress part of the video? :)

  • Loren Cogar

    If you could use some small joystick like the zeemote to navigate a mouse cursor I think this could work awesome!

    • http://marsjana.net/ marsjaninzmarsa

      Nice idea. :D

  • chris

    You actually sound surprised that it runs Android... Duh.

    • Sorian

      It's more of how much of Android is in Glass. As was pointed in the teardown of the Glass system dump, there is a lot of stuff that isn't needed for Glass to run.

      • chris

        I'll give you another "Duh!" for that comment as well... We all knew it was android and based on its size we all knew it couldn't run full android...

  • http://twitter.com/karlovranjes Karlo

    Very Cool

  • kelemvor

    How'd you get Ingress to work Landscape. I can't even get that to work on my phone. :(

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo
      • http://profiles.google.com/ssmathison Scott Mathison

        This has been the most important thing I have read all week...forced rotation...

        • Dave

          Yeah, I wonder how they are allowed to have something in the Play Store that will "FORCE the automatic orientation to override app specific settings."

  • Fredrick Sylar

    Holy flipping, Ingress playing Jesus!

  • Aaron Ogle

    So what about the glass home apk + dependents? Anyone tried putting it in an emulator and giving it a spin?

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    Let's install Ubuntu on this thing! Or at least a remote desktop.

    I have no doubts there will be a movie with leet haxx0rz cracking Pentagon using this thing.

    BTW Ron, you should update your profile picture - selfie wearing Glass, taken with the Glass itself.

  • RitishOemraw

    You should've showed Google Maps navigation in walking mode.....(if that works)

    • http://marsjana.net/ marsjaninzmarsa

      May be hard, AFAIR Maps app dosn't support d-pad (touch only).

      • RitishOemraw

        I hoped it would be useable through voice commands (navigate to home or soemthing)

        • emperor43

          you can use voice commands but you can also choose to open navigation routes in myGlass, not the default Navigation app, and that will push them then to Glass

          • RitishOemraw

            so is it possible to have navigation mode (not the directions list or the mapview) showing on glass?

  • Sasuke

    Google Glass Home? Anyone have apk? :)

  • chandradithya

    What if i go next to a person wearing Google Glass, hold his hands down and say " OK glass, text (boss' name) I'm not gonna do the work you gave me, you can kiss my a**, B****** " ?

    • http://shanked.me/ Shank

      In an earlier video, he demonstrated use. First, the device has to be active. Either you look up slightly or tap the side. Next, you have 3 seconds to swipe down on the touchpad to cancel. This is all presuming the person programmed their boss's phone number (and you knew their name) into Glass beforehand. Glass doesn't have full contact access.

      • chandradithya

        Well. I agree its not so easy. But If I know you close enough and just decide to prank you that way. What's gonna stop me?

        im not an anti-glass person or anything, but if I had glass, I would prefer glass to have different security options to in it.

        Voice recognition ?

        • aaaa

          it "feels" skull vibrations so the glass won't "hear" something that's not said by it's user

  • Guest

    Can you connect a bluetooth keyboard and mouse?

    • http://www.facebook.com/liam.cobb.71 Liam Cobb

      This is exactly what I was wondering! Glad to see that someone else was on the same page.

  • http://www.androidmarket.cz/ Petr Houška

    Would it be possible to extract Glass Home .apk from the glass?

  • Nicholas Cressman

    Input problem solved: connect to MYO armband via Bluetooth for complete control.

  • http://twitter.com/strauzo strauzo

    If you install DroidMote you can have full multi-touch control of glass from your phone. make a try.

  • http://geeknizer.com Geeknizer

    How did you install apps? I tried adb install filenname.apk, that didnt work?

  • Joshua

    Wait wait wait, hold up, back up a little.

    Am-A'-deo? The stress goes on the second syllable? I've been reading your name wrong this whole time. I'm sorry.

    More seriously, though, that's awesome. Thanks for making this video. Here's to hoping you keep us posted on other cool things about Glass!

  • אביתר בן עזרא

    I think it will be clearer and look much nicer if you manage to lower the dpi. So you can fit more widgets on nova homescreen and drawer.
    Not too much though. It should still be readable..

  • feres13

    Geekbench score? I never liked benchmarks but i'm curious