It seems like forever since we did our last teardown for Google Glass, but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of things happening for the former Google[x] project. XE16 brought the first ever change in OS version, taking Glass from 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) all of the way to 4.4.2 (KitKat). A minor hotfix from build followed with an undisclosed set of changes and a minor bump in build number.
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.
There are nothing short of three-quarter bajillion things that need to be remembered over the course of a day, and we as a species have steadily worked to provide a solution that compensates for our forgetfulness. Notepads work, but they take up space. Post-it notes aren't all that elegant or portable of a solution. Smartphones, when combined with the right app, are pretty close to nailing it. But can Google Glass do it better?
You've seen the breathless coverage. You've read Google's hyperbolic marketing. You've seen countless demonstrations of why Google Glass is the future. And if you live in the United States, you can finally get one without jumping through limited access hoops or begging for an invite, if only for one day. Google's Glass Explorer program is open to US residents 18 and older from right now (9 AM Eastern, 6AM Pacific) until the end of the day on April 15th.
If you've been anxiously awaiting your opportunity to get your very own Google Glass, and somehow you've missed every other invite or code giveaway, your time is coming up in just a few days. The Glass team has confirmed documents leaked to The Verge that indicate Google will be giving a one-day pass to all residents of the United States to join the Explorer Program and purchase their very own head-mounted unit.
The Google Glass team knows that if you're thinking about mounting a computer on your face, you should do it with some style. Today, Google and the Luxottica Group announced a partnership that will see the two companies working together to design stylish and comfortable frames to pair with Google Glass. This follows the the Glass team's own Titanium line of frames launched back in January.
The Luxottica Group owns, manufactures, and distributes famous brands such as Oakley, Ray-Ban, and Persol.
Droiders is an app-developing startup, and today it's launching MedicAR, a piece of Glassware that uses augmented reality to assist students studying to become surgeons. It guides them through certain procedures, showing them where to cut, what tools to use, what to do next, and how to close things back up afterwards. The video below shows it in action, and don't worry, it's not graphic.
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.
As a Glass Explorer, I'm always excited to see new apps, especially if they improve Glass' user experience. Developer Matthew Pierce delivered one such app recently, making Glass Master Control available to the public via Dropbox.
Essentially, Master Control allows users to change Glass settings in a new, more fine-grained way. It controls volume, brightness, and radios (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AutoSync). Until now, Glass hasn't had manual brightness controls, and volume control was buried in a settings card at the very left end of the timeline.
Questions about Google Glass and conventional prescription glasses have been flying since the project was announced, but Google finally seem ready to initiate a program to make the two come into conjunction. The Glass team announced frames for prescription lenses and sunglasses for Glass on Google+, along with a glitzy video. The titanium glasses frames will be put up for order exclusively to Glass Explorers later today.
Unfortunately, the solution that Google has presented isn't one size fits all - you'll have to choose from a selection of four standard frames (Split, Thin, Bold, Curve) and order lenses to fit.