After the rollout of XE12 in mid-December and the announcement that January would not bring an update, Glass Explorers have been anxiously awaiting the release of XE14, originally due in February. As it turns out, they were to be disappointed. In a posting to the private Glass Community forum late yesterday, Teresa Z explained that XE14 had missed its February deadline. The reason: it simply wasn't ready to be released. Unfortunately, no details were given with regard to the timeline for the next update.


The post went on to express the development team's enthusiasm and rapid progress, and to announce one exciting detail: the Explorer Edition will finally leave behind Ice Cream Sandwich and jump straight to Kit Kat! We can probably expect the upgrade to incorporate the advantages of Project Butter and Project Svelte, effectively lowering the demands on the system and battery life while also improving framerates and overall performance. Naturally, the upgrade will also bring with it 2 years worth of improvements including: Bluetooth Low Energy, OpenGL ES 3.0, better security, a richer API, and so much more. It's too early to be sure if an architecture-dependent feature like ART will make it in, but we will have to wait and see. Again, it's not clear when this upgrade will be rolling out or if it's even coming in the next release.

While Teresa emphasized that the Glass team still intends to maintain regular updates, the monthly schedule might be a thing of the past. This is the result of more ambitious goals, like revamping the Glass Boutique (app store) and building out the Glass Development Kit (GDK). The statement also suggests that developers will have a lot to look forward to in the next release, but gives no details. In the meantime, there is a reminder for users that they can now share directly from Glass to Google+ communities.

The February Update

‎02-28-2014 05:19 PM

OK, before you read any further, make sure you’re sitting down. Are you sitting down now? Good.

We know that a lot of you have been patiently waiting for the next release. In fact, your excitement and anticipation for our upcoming releases always pushes us to come up with something that’s worth the wait. It needs to be good. And what we had planned for February just isn’t ready for primetime yet. So... we’ve decided to hold off for now.

[Go ahead, feel free to take a moment of silence to honor the fallen updates.]

I know this might be a disappointment to some of you. But it’s all part of the Explorer program. We’re trying a lot of things. Most of them work out great, and some of them need a little more polish. In this case, we’d rather wait to get it right, than release something that isn’t up to snuff.

Now the good news. We’re still moving extremely quickly. Since the first Explorers got their Glass less than a year ago, we’ve already been through eight updates – nine if you count last year’s hardware revision. The pace isn’t changing and we're still committed to regular updates for Glass – even if they’re not monthly anymore, because bigger updates just take more time. In fact, we’re working to move Glass from Ice Cream Sandwich to Kit Kat to make the Glass experience smoother and just plain better. This change will make it easier for us to bring you more useful updates and it’s something we’re really excited about. Developers, we know you’re gonna be excited, too. But it’s also something that we don’t want to send to you all until it’s just right. (We did flip on sharing to Google+ communities, which was originally slated for this month’s updates – and something we know you’ve been waiting for.)

Now off we go to bake a little more awesome into the sauce.

At least the Glass team isn't compromising software quality simply to deliver updates on time. However, speaking on behalf of Glass Explorers everywhere, it would have been nice to know this a couple of weeks ago. In the meantime, I suppose we can officially write off XE14 as vaporware and begin watching for XE15.

Source: Glass Community Forum (Explorers-only)

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • silver_arrow

    Hmm this has the same specs as a Galaxy Nexus and everyone figured that didn't get its 4.4 update due to the OMAP processor... wonder how this changes things.

    • http://www.aiowiki.com/wiki/User:Reddo Reddo

      I thought it was announced that the reason it didn't get 4.4 was that there weren't enough people using it

      • silver_arrow

        The announced reason is they only give 18 months of upgrades.

        • daveloft

          Which is fair. 18 months of upgrades provides 24 months of running the latest OS. As KitKat was released 2 years after the Galaxy Nexus it makes sense to just upgrade to KitKat by buying the new Nexus.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      I've been wondering the same thing. This is the reason I tend to doubt that we'll see ART, because it depends on architecture-specific code that will never be reused.

      • Andrew Jiang

        OMAP4430's PowerVR SGX540 GPU does not support OpenGL ES 3.0, so we probably won't see that. ART has so far proven to not be that platform-dependent actually (At least in 4.4, it's not); OMAP devices running custom 4.4 ROMs (eg. GNex, Galaxy S II I9100G) can enable ART with practically no issues.

      • rstat1

        the GNex builds of Kitkat have ART. Since Glass and GNex have the same processor Glass will get ART as well. It won't get GLES3 though.

    • James

      Not everyone. Only Google fanboys figured that. If a handful of part-time, volunteer custom ROM devs can get 4.4 running on the Gnex, surely a multi-billion dollar company can.

    • Grahaman27

      hopefully there is a hardware update. the omap in google glass will be pretty dang old by release if they keep using it.

    • mrjayviper

      well not everyone since someone linked me to a page that says Google has an 18-month software update guarantee and Nexus is more than 18-months old.

  • Cas

    I kinda get the feeling they're integrating stuff to bring it on a smartwatch as well.

  • remister

    Hmm, got another invite to purchase Google Glass. I am not sure if I should make the jump. I mean they are going to release a consumer based one for cheaper, but would it be as nice as the "Explorer" version?

    • Guest

      If you don't want to use the invite, please pass it along! https://plus.google.com/+DougHawkes

      • Aaron Hafitz

        I have an invite you could have. Let me know if you want it. I don't have that kind of cash to spend on it right now

      • remister

        This time around it seems there is no 7 day limit. So I can purchase it whenever I want. I guess it's to save some monies.

    • Kcls

      I think you should probably wait, see what the consumer version looks like, and then if you don't like it I'm sure there will be a ton of Explorers selling the XE Version, and you could buy those. We're getting closer and closer to the release of glass I just can't see spending $1500 on an essentially year an a half old piece of tech.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      If you're a developer who wants to get a jump start on Glass, I'd say go for it. If you're a consumer with a lot of spare cash who just wants to provide feedback and experience the technology early, I'd say maybe. But if you don't have the spare cash and aren't planning on developing, I'd say wait a while longer for the consumer version and make a decision then. Of course this is just my two cents.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      I'll start by saying, the final consumer version will definitely be cheaper and I'd be pretty certain that its physical design will be much nicer, as well. But most people are also pretty confident that the Explorers will be able to trade in theirs for the consumer edition when it releases. Generally, I have to agree with Liam and Kcls. We don't truly know how long it will be until the consumer release of Glass, but joining now is probably not a good way to use your money.

      Just think, if Glass comes out as early as I/O (I wouldn't bet on it, but that's not the craziest possibility), then you'd only have about 4 months with it. Even if it launches later this year, it's still probably not worth the cost. The only way I would recommend most people to get it now is if they are developers with time and desire to write for Glass or if some proof came out that it wasn't going to launch until sometime next year. Of course, this is only relevant if you don't have lots of extra cash to toss around. :)

  • Alexander Reddicks

    Does the V2 glass hardware still use the OMAP processor?

    • Roh_Mish

      I think so. Snapdragon 200 or 400 could replace it easily

  • NF

    Wouldn't you still call it xe14?

    Some of these features may not be added to Glass right now, but i figure it's going to be much more useful in the mass production model.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      As far as I'm aware, the Glass team has never referred to "the February Update" as XE14. People have just assumed that it would be called XE14, but the next version could be either XE13 or XE15.

      Of course, version numbers are just an arbitrary naming convention and have little real relevance, so it doesn't matter what it's called. :)

  • Casin

    You mean Glass has been using Bluetooth 3.0 until now? All wearables should be using 4.0 if they want better battery life.

  • Deeco

    OFFTOPIC: Android Police website, really needs are redesign it's so outdated.

    • godutch

      It look nice on mobile, I wish I could use the mobile site on my tablet though but I can only use the full site (whereas on my phone I can choose)

    • EH101

      AP is being redesigned... it is just taking forever. They had a logo contest back in summer of 2012 that was supposed to decide the new logo for the redesign. A few months ago Artem replied to one of my comments saying essentially it is still happening, just very slowly. It has to be approaching completion by now, hopefully.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      A redesign is in progress. As EH101 noted, we did have a logo contest a long time ago, but have since had a new logo designed (it has made an appearance on the site before). Without going into details, the redesign will be well worth the wait.

    • boytoast

      And android app!

      • bL4Ck

        Use Newsstand?