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InfoQ Homepage News Glass Developer Kit Enables Developers to Build Apps for Google Glass using Xamarin.Android

Glass Developer Kit Enables Developers to Build Apps for Google Glass using Xamarin.Android

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Glass Developer Kit (GDK) recently released at the Google developer event provides ability for the developers to build native applications which runs on Google Glass using C# and Xamarin.Android. According to official sources, developers will be able to easily find the tools and functions included with the kit since many of the APIs are already used in the currently available Android apps.

Glass Developer Kit is available free of cost for those developers who participate in Google's Glass Explorer Program. The kit, which is an add-on to the Android SDK also provides access to cross-platform Glassware APIs and a sample demo which enables developers to write apps which work with Google Glass using C#.

InfoQ had a chat with Chris Hardy, ASPInsider and Software Developer, Xamarin to know more about Xamarin.Android and Google Glass Developer Kit.

InfoQ: What is Xamarin.Android?

Xamarin.Android is a development tool that allows developers to program native Android applications using the power of the C# language and the common language runtime/.NET framework.

InfoQ: What purpose does Google glass serve?

The purpose of Google Glass is to provide useful information to a wearer without them having to spend time getting their mobile devices from their pockets, it provides a small screen to the top right side of your field of view to display this information on. It also includes a camera and a bone-conducting speaker.

InfoQ: Can you share with us the tools required for the development of Xamarin.Android based applications?

The official Xamarin site gives a good overview of the required tools but you can work with Xamarin.Android with either Xamarin Studio on a Mac, Xamarin Studio on Windows or Visual Studio 2010, 2012 or 2013 on Windows. Most people develop Xamarin.Android applications with Visual Studio as they feel at home using the Visual Studio IDE.

InfoQ: Imagine, I developed an app using GDK. What information I will be able to view with Google Glass?

You can view any information that can be displayed on the screen, you can get full access to the screen, so you can custom draw something on there, display a website in a WebView, play a video or display the camera from the device (this is useful for doing scanning of QR Codes inside your applications. Generally, you will want to display larger text with succinct information so it's clear to the user what they are looking at. This is displayed on the Google Glass display, which they say is a "high resolution display that's equivalent of a 25 inch high definition screen from eight feet away".

InfoQ: Does Glass Developer Kit provide any emulator for those developers who don't have Google Glass?

At the moment, Google doesn't provide a emulator for developers without the Google Glass, we would recommend people sign up via the following link: as we've seen people get their invitation to join the Google Glass Explorers within weeks of signing up (but this does all depend on Google).

InfoQ: Can you share with us a sample program which shows development of Google glass application with Xamarin.Android?

Here's a Stopwatch sample of a Google Glass application with Xamarin.Android.

InfoQ: What kind of apps can be developed using Xamarin.Android?

All sorts of applications can be developed using Xamarin.Android, you're not limited by any certain types of APIs or any limitations of the Xamarin platform, some examples of applications are:

Rdio: - This app is also developed in C# on iOS and Windows Phone
Direct Energy: This app  was also developed in C# on iOS
Infinite Flight:  This app was also developed in C# on iOS and Windows Phone

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