2014-04-15 22.59.21

The day Glass Explorers have been anxiously awaiting is finally here, and just in time for the open registration event! After a lengthy 4-month wait, XE16 has emerged and transcended its potential vaporware moniker to became a reality. As we've already learned, this latest installment includes a massive version bump to KitKat, photo bundles, photos in Hangouts, sorted voice commands, and much more.

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Warning, it looks like everything on Glass will be deleted during the update to XE16. Make sure to back up photos and videos, and be prepared to reinstall any non-official apps. Official Glassware will reinstall itself automatically after the update. We're not sure if there are any adverse effects for rooted users.

Installing the update is pretty similar to previous versions, but with one difference: you'll need to do it twice. The first step is a minor version bump to XE12.1, which serves to do little more than prepare Glass for the real update. It takes about a minute to install and restarts Glass after it has finished. Once rebooted, XE16 will be detected and downloaded after a few minutes. This update takes around 5 minutes to install and reboots once during the process. You'll definitely want to keep Glass plugged in the whole time.

There's a chance that Glass Home and a few other services may crash when everything is done. Just clear the notifications or reboot again to get everything working smoothly.

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Google has posted the official list of changes here, but Explorers may also want to check out the thread in the private community. One thing that wasn't mentioned elsewhere is that there are some potentially breaking changes to the GDK (Glass Development Kit). Developers can dig through those details in the changelog on Google's Developer Portal for Glass.

After the update has been installed, it's incredibly clear that the upgrade to KitKat brought some significant speed increases, smoother frame rates, and some new animations. But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself!

There's a ninja update coming out, btw. It won't show up any different from the Glass interface, but it is listed as build XRV15C. You can check your device by connecting to a computer and issuing the command:
adb shell getprop ro.build.id

Update [4/16]: Heads up, there's a hotfix rolling out to Glass units, right now. No changelog has been posted, but this is likely in response to pretty severe battery drain introduced with the latest update. Yes, we see the irony, too. The new build number is XRV15C, replacing XRV15B from yesterday. This is a ninja update, so you won't be prompted to install, it will simply download and restart Glass automatically. Chances are good that it has already happened and you won't even notice it. There are no visible indicators of build number on Glass's interface, but you can check to see if yours has updated by connecting to a computer with the latest version of ADB, open a command prompt, and enter: 'adb shell getprop ro.build.id'.

Source: Glass Community (explorers only), XE16 Release Notes, XE16 Developer Release Notes

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.

  • garbagedick

    It uses BLE now too ;-)

    • charles anderson

      Don't mess with my emotions sir ????

  • Casin

    I hope AP will give us a battery life comparison of how much things have improved relative to Android 4.0. BLE sounds like a good start.

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

      I wear mine pretty sporadically. Sometimes I won't put mine on for days at a time, and others I use it fairly heavily (more for development and experimentation). Liam wears his often, so he'll be the man to ask. I'm sure he will have something to add to this once we've stopped poking at XE16 to figure out what's new.

      Speaking of, I've been working on the teardown for almost 10 hours. I've found a lot of stuff, and I suspect I've only cracked the surface. ;)

  • Badouken

    I got to try glass the other day because one of my classmates had it... Wasn't that cool at least $1500 cool (I know it'll be cheaper and do more once it's releases) but it was ridiculous because the kid didn't even know how to pull up maps on it... He wears them everyday but doesn't know how to use them... What?

    • didibus

      In a purely theoretical sense, I think of glass, and I think, what would I want it to do? There isn't too much I can think of.

      The first useful thing I can think of is displaying info about myself in real-time. How fast I'm going, how many calories I'm burning, what's my current temperature, my heart rate, my pulse, my pressure, the orientation I'm in, etc.

      The second useful thing I can think of is displaying info about my surrounding in real-time. The name of a building, it's address, it's phone number, it's approximate square size, is it for rent, who's been here that I know recently, or who is here now. The location I'm in, so a map of my surrounding. Where is the north, what's the wind speed, what's the temperature, what's the strength of the light, who's the person in front of me, what's his weight, his name, his age, his phone number, etc.

      Already, I'm doubting those two things are possible yet. I can't even get a SmartPhone to do all this, I don't see how Glass will.

      Now in the even more foreign concepts, I'd like glass to be able to see through walls, show me a heat map, a night vision, zoom in on things really far away, enhance distant sounds, alert me of incoming dangers from behind me (a spider sense), detect peoples emotions, body temperatures, heart rates, stress levels, etc.

      I highly doubt any of these will ever happen anytime soon.

      Now, I'm thinking it would be cool if all these things would be overlayed nicely above what I see, but I think Glass doesn't do that, or am I wrong? I think it only is like a square at the bottom right, so more of a minimap kind of thing than an augmented map.

      So on a more realistic conceptualisation, there is very little I can think of wanting from Glass that would make it so much more useful than my phone. The true advantage of Glass is that it should focus on real-time, always in your vision and your ears kind of thing and allowing multi-tasking. So, Google Maps and Google Navigation is the most obvious. Voice and Video chat with friends is a second. There's almost nothing else to be honest.

      • Solust

        Are you an assassin? Or maybe a spy?

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

        If you look at Glass as a readout device, it could be used as part of your first use case. It's pretty well suited to showing (or telling) this information to you, but it has no sensors to directly collect it. Just like a smartphone, you'd still need some kind of gadget on your body to read that stuff. I believe a few kickstarter campaigns already exist for items like that. ;)

        Your second use case is really just up to app developers. By and large, these are all features dependent on the camera and having a smartphone There's already a few apps and built-in features, but they haven't matured very much yet. There are apps like Word Lens which translate text from one language to another, which almost goes above and beyond what you're asking for. This is obviously the territory Google wants to see emerging in development.

        I would add a third use case, which is to treat it as a personal assistant, which is pretty much the defining usage of Glass. Again, this depends largely on 3rd-party apps, but many of the voice commands on Google Now are making their way to Glass and there are new things popping up from time to time. A lot of this centers around creating a simple, mostly hands free experience, which poses a few new challenges for developers.

        Most of what you're asking for, within reason, is what Glass will evolve into. The platform itself just has to mature (quite a bit) and the 3rd-party developers have to do a lot more work on it. Of course, that would be easier if they hurry up and release the GDK update for API 19... (yes, that's a hint to the Glass team, HURRY UP!!!!)

        • IamTheFij

          The GDK update is out there. I've been working with it all day.

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

            Ahh, so it is. I tried it mid-morning but it hadn't shown up yet.

  • frafri

    yeap iBeacon working.

  • Abdallah Hirbawi

    Hope Gnex devs can get some use out of this!

    • elma

      this ^^

      • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

        that ^^

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

      Well, the kernel source is posted at https://android.googlesource.com/kernel/omap.git via https://developers.google.com/glass/tools-downloads/system. It looks like xrv15b is the latest branch.

      I'm sure something of value will be there for the kernel devs, but it will be oriented towards a much more power-conservative device. There are also some missing/different components that the GNex needs and Glass won't provide them (eg. cell modem, gps). It'll help, but it's not a complete package.

  • PoisonApple31

    So Glass has more usable storage than the S4/S5 out of the box? Ouch.

  • MacDegger

    Say, would anyone have a link to the new MyGlass apk?

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

    For those getting email updates on comments:
    There's a hotfix rolling out to Glass, right now. No changelog or confirmed details, but it's probably a fix for some battery drain issues. The post has been updated with more details.

  • Joel Saleson

    the xrv15c doesn't fix the battery drain. It's worse than it ever was.

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

      Really? Mine is considerably better than it was yesterday. On 15b, I went to sleep for with a full charge, and I woke up 6 hours later with a low battery warning. Since 15c installed, it has been unplugged for about 5 hours and I'm at 68%. In either case, I haven't used it since it was unplugged, so I'm not sure the same things would necessarily be true if it were in regular use during those times.

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

    Mine is now acting like that. I'm not sure if the initially low power consumption was just a fluke, but it dropped pretty quickly this afternoon.

    I guess we'll have to keep an eye out for another hotfix fairly soon. Nearly dead in under 12 hours without even touching it is definitely unsuitable.

  • peddi vamshi krishna

    How to upgrade my Glass from XE16 to XE17 ? can anyone suggest ?

  • peddi vamshi krishna

    Why my google glass is showing offline on my PC ? am unable to install the apk files . can anyone suggest ? i think there is a problem with ADB ( may be expire) . how to upgrade ADB ?

  • peddi vamshi krishna

    Why my google glass is showing offline on my PC ? am unable to install the apk files . can anyone suggest ?