Now, developers can run their own software on the “intentionally unlocked” platform
Google has made the kernel source code of its Project Glass platform available under the GNU General Public License. The release includes just the Linux code, and not the Android code, which Google maintains separately under the Apache licence.
This means enthusiasts can finally attempt to “root” or “jailbreak” Google’s clever spectacles to run their own code, and some already have. The release also offers more tools to developers who are building apps for Glass, currently in closed beta.
According to analysts, Google is likely to release the remaining portion of the source code in the nearest future.
Little is known about the inner workings of the Glass project, but this much is certain: the device runs Android, features indirect bone-conduction speakers, a five megapixel camera, 16 GB of flash storage, will ship in five colours (black, gray, blue, red or white) and come with removable shades.
The connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a micro USB port. According to some reports, the version of Android currently present on the device is 4.0.4.
On Friday, Jay Freeman, an open source contributor responsible for the popular unofficial Cydia app store for iOS devices, tweeted that he successfully ran an exploit and managed to launch his own code on the Glass headset.
Google’s own Stephen Lau wrote on Saturday that the company “intentionally left the device unlocked”, and the rooting process was very easy. He was somewhat upset with the media coverage portraying Glass as a closed system that necessitated hacking, but did acknowledge Freeman’s valuable contribution, since the developer didn’t use the backdoor left open in the source code.
Lau also called out to the developers to experiment with the new platform and show “something cool”.
Wearable computing is quickly becoming an important market for technology companies. China’s largest web services company – Baidu – is experimenting with its own pair of hi-tech glasses, while Microsoft has recently filed a patent for a full-blown augmented reality headset.
Below, you can see some interface “cards” made by Google for Project Glass:
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