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.