Google Glass's Android code now available

Ready to start programming for Google Glass? The tools are out there. While only a handful of Google Glasses are out, Google quietly released its Android-based core kernel code.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Ready to start writing applications for Google Glass? You now can. On April 27, Google quietly released Google Glass's Android-based core kernel code.

Google Glass
The Google Glass's software, as well as the first versions of the hardware, is now available.

The Google Glass release candidate code is available within a Linux tarball, an archived, compressed file format. Like any Linux-based operating system, the Google Glass Android kernel is licensed under the GPLv2.

The software, which is based on Android 4.04, still doesn't have a permanent public home. Google promises that eventually, the code will be kept to "git next to all other android kernel source releases".

Before this, Google had released some technical details on the Google Glass hardware that the new kernel is supporting. The first Google Glass devices come with 16GB-flash onboard storage. There are 4GBs of this reserved for the operating system and drivers, while 12GBs of it can be used by users. This personal storage is, in turn, synced with its users' Google Drive cloud storage. By default, Glass will automatically upload location data, along with video and photos to Google+.

The built-in camera can take photos at 5 megapixels, and video at 720p. The audio uses a bone conduction transducer system instead of earphones. Glass also supports 802.11b/g wi-fi and Bluetooth for networking and detached device support. To save battery, which Google claims can last for up to 24 hours, 802.11n isn't supported yet.

Hackers have also discovered that Glass uses an OMAP 4430 CPU. This is a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor running at either 1 to 1.2GHz. This, in turn, supports 1GB RAM. Approximately 340MBs of this is reserved for the operating system and drivers.

All this, combined with the release of the Google Glass "Mirror" application programming interface (API) developer kit, gives software developers and hackers alike everything they need to start writing programs for Glass, and for that matter, even start working on Google Glass clones. Google Glass is moving at an amazing rapid clip from engineering prototype to soon-to-be common device.

Related stories

Editorial standards