The Mirror API is the first mainstream wearable computing SDK. It has been designed from the ground up to be used on wearable devices. While the Mirror API was introduced with Google Glass, it was designed with the ambition to be across a range of wearable computing devices. Shortly after the Mirror API was revealed to the public, Google filed several smartwatch related patents that include a user interface very similar to Glass.
You can start using the Mirror API today to build applications for the Google Glass Explorer Edition and there’s a strong likelihood that those applications may appear on the wrist as well. If there is a reason to pay attention to Mirror, that is as good as any. So, what makes this API the first wearable computing SDK?
First, the Mirror API is built to be contextual. Location-based functionality is part of the Mirror API with all of the apps on the device having access to the same battery efficient location information. Wearable computing devices are built around a theme of context -- providing the user with useful information relative their location and surroundings. This is baked into Mirror from the start.
Furthering that contextual focus, under Mirror, push-based mechanics and notifications move to the front of the application experience. Instead of the user manually requesting relevant information, it is delivered directly to the user. The Mirror API encapsulates lessons learned in building the Android notification platform and its menu mechanics are even similar to those quick menu items displayed with the Android notification bar.
All of this context is meaningless without some form of interaction, applications built around the Mirror API are built around simplified user interface requirements. Simple touch gestures and motion gestures are used to interact with the application. Mirror apps follow a tap, touch, swipe, and talk model that can be easily adapted beyond Glass to smartwatches and other wearable devices.
Mirror API is the first platform that fully abandons the decades old keyboard and pointer interface and finally embraces a voice driven future. There’s really no backup, life preserver, or attachment to the all Mirror API world. Glass is the first device to rely entirely upon speech for text input and the Mirror API includes features to support that mechanic.
The Mirror API does more than embrace the hardware mechanics of the new generation of wearable computing. It also integrates features that are part of being an always on device in a connected world. Mirror API applications can include pictures and streaming audio/video. Similar to Android, Mirror includes a robust sharing feature that enables content to be shared across applications and real world user contacts.
Devices that support the Mirror API offload most of their processing to applications hosted on the web and/or the cloud. While it sacrifices the ability of Mirror API applications to function offline, it dramatically reduces the CPU requirements of the wearable device and allows a device like the Google Glass Explorer Edition to make use of a 2010 smartphone processor.
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