Android NDK 3

Over at the Android developers blog there is a new announcement detailing an upgrade to the Native Development Kit for Android. This is big news for Android developers and the third release of the Android Native Development Kit (NDK) is now available for download from the Android developer site. According to the official developers blog, ‘It can be used to target devices running Android 1.5 and higher. In addition to a few bug fixes and improvements, this release includes’ a new compiler to help generate more streamline machine code for your application (machine code is the stuff the operating system eventually executes) along with support for OpenGL ES 2.0 features.

Applications targeting Android 2.0 (API level 5) or higher can now directly access OpenGL ES 2.0 features. This brings the ability to control graphics rendering through vertex and fragment shader programs, using the GLSL shading language.

You might be wondering how the standard Android SDK (software development kit) and the NDK (native development kit) work together? The NDK is an ‘add-on’ for Android SDK which effectively allows you to compile code in a native language removing the requirement for the Java virtual machine. This is perfect for creating some serious gaming potential on Android, and we look forward to seeing what developers can come up with!

James Tromans
Contributing editor of, based in the U.K.