Skip to main content

Google tells Glass developers to build apps on Android SDK before official GDK arrives

Chomping at the bit to design your own Google Glass app? You'll have to wait a little bit longer to get your hands on Google's to-be-released Glass Development Kit (GDK), a software toolkit that will officially (and finally) allow developers to build apps that can run directly on Glass itself.

Currently, the best one can do is to design a web-based service — "Glassware," as Google describes it — that interacts with Google Glass via cloud-based APIs. Limited APIs, we should note; Developers interested in exploring the full range of functionality that Glass (supposedly) provides have noticed that Google hasn't exactly given them the kitchen sink to play around with.

"The platform itself is a RESTful-based API meant for sending small messages of push data. Video, picture, audio, and text linked from HTML/CSS formatted messages are sent via a web service request to the Google Glass Mirror API. The API is not for developing true native applications," writes Playground's Dave Senior.

Well, Google has a (temporary) fix for that, at least. According to a new Google+ post from the Glass Developer Relations Team, developers are now being encouraged to "design and develop your awesome ideas" via the current Android SDK while waiting for the official GDK to hit the web.

"Glass is built on the Android 4.0.4 platform, so you can write APKs using the standard Android SDK (API Level 15) and sideload them onto Glass. The Android SDK provides you with a wide range of APIs to do things such as access the low-level hardware, render OpenGL, use stock Android UI widgets, and much more. You can even use the Android NDK to develop," reads Google's description on its Glass Development Kit webpage.

Those new to Glass and Android can benefit from some of the sample APKs that Google's thrown up onto GitHub, which consist of three simple Compass, Level, and Stopwatch apps.

"When we launch the GDK, we'll also update these samples to show the migration path from a traditional Android app to a full Glass experience," reads Google's site.

Last week saw coder Chad Smith bring unofficial analytics and advertising apps to Google Glass.