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09 March 2010, 14:14

Android NDK with OpenGL ES 2.0 support

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Android Logo The new version of Google's Android Native Development Kit (NDK) supports the OpenGL ES (Open GL for Embedded Systems) 2.0 graphics standard. This allows developers to use vertex and fragment shaders with the OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) and, for example, create 3D games for Android devices. The libraries of the graphics standard work with all devices that run at least version 2.0 of the Android operating system. The platform's current version is Android 2.1.

Android applications usually run within Google's Dalvik Java virtual machine. Last June, the IT giant introduced the Android NDK, a tool kit comparable to the "normal" Android Software Development Kit (SDK) whose tools and build files allow Android developers to write parts of their applications in native code languages such as C or C++. However, the NDK only works in combination with the Android SDK.

Also new in the latest version, which was released as version "r3", are binary files for the toolchain have been recompiled using GCC 4.4.0. This is said to make the binaries more compact and efficient than those created with the previous version 4.2.1. As GCC 4.4.0 is stricter than its predecessor and may not compile certain template declarations, the GCC 4.2.1 complied binaries are still available for developers who need them.

The new versioning may cause some confusion. "r3" stands for "revision 3" and is intended to indicate that the NDK works with various versions of Android. Previous versions of the NDK conformed with the versioning of Android, although they also supported several Android versions.


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