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[OTA Captured] Google Glass XE16 Update Brings KitKat, Photo Bundles, Photos in Hangouts, Voice Commands Sorting, and More

product_7Earlier today, for one day only, Google opened up Glass Explorer Edition purchases to interested parties living in the US. Of course, you still have to plunk down $1500 in order to get your hands on this sleek piece of beta wearable tech. But for those looking to be on the bleeding edge, the investment is well worth it.

Back in December,  was updated to firmware version XE12. This brought many new features such as wink pics, Hangouts and YouTube Glassware, improved Play Music support, and improved Google Search cards. Now, Glass has received the long awaited update to XE16, which among other things, brings the device up to Android 4.4 KitKat.

According to Glass staffer Yury Pinsky:

  • Kit Kat for Glass – As most of you know, we’ve been working to upgrade Glass to Kit Kat. This brings improved battery life and makes Glass more reliable and easier to update in the future. And now that Glass runs Android KitKat, developers can write Glassware using the latest Android SDK goodness, along with new features from our GDK.

  • Photo bundles - Explorers have been telling us that when they’re taking lots of photos, it can sometimes clutter up the timeline. Now your photos, videos and vignettes will be organized into bundles that are easier to swipe through when you’re flipping through your timeline.

  • Photos in Hangouts – Let’s say you’re in a Hangout chat and you want to share a photo. Now you can use the camera button to take a photo and then share it with the Hangout chat you’re in. If you already took the perfect photo, you can still tap to “Send” it in a Hangout chat.

  • Sending feedback - You may already be adding your feature requests for Glass to the Wishlist board. Now when you’re on the go and think of a suggestion or notice that Glass is doing something unusual, you can send your feedback from Glass. Just tap on the device info card in Settings and tell us what’s on your mind. Of course, you can still send us an email or post in the Explorers Community.

  • Voice command sorting – We all use Glass a little differently so we probably all have our most used “ok glass” voice command. Now your “ok glass” commands will be sorted by recency and frequency so you can get to the ones you use most even faster.

  • Play Music Instant Mixes - If you’re not an All Access Subscriber who’s using the Google Music Glassware, you can now listen to Instant Mixes in addition to your playlists.

  • Easier Wifi setup with Android - If you’ve enabled backup on your Android phone or tablet your Wifi information will sync across all your Android devices. This means that Glass will automatically connect to the networks you’ve already set up on your Android devices. No manual Wifi setup required for those known Wifi networks.

  • Networking help - It’s frustrating when you lose your connection and aren’t sure why. Now if you lose your connection, Glass will let you know your status and give you some tips to reconnect.

The update is currently rolling out in the form of an incremental OTA from XE12.1 to XE16. Unfortunately as was the case with XE12, the XE16 factory restore and rooted bootloader images have not been posted to the official Glass Developers firmware page. Luckily, the XE12 images are available, and XDA Recognized Contributor TheManii was kind enough to capture the OTA update links from XE12 to XE12.1 and from XE12.1 to XE16.

While the lack of the pre-rooted bootloader images unfortunately means that there is not yet an official root solution for the XE12.1 and XE16 updates, you can at least install the latest XE16 firmware on your Glass even if your device has not yet received the OTA.

You can get in on the latest firmware a bit early by visiting the stock firmware thread and downloading the relevant incremental OTAs. You can also head over to Google to learn more about XE16’s consumer-facing and developer-facing features.

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