08 March 2010

Android NDK r3

The third release of the Android Native Development Kit (NDK) is now available for download from the Android developer site.

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 the following new features:

Toolchain improvement

The toolchain binaries have been refreshed for this release with GCC 4.4.0, which should generate slightly more compact and efficient machine code than the previous one (4.2.1).

Note that the GCC 4.4.0 C++ frontend is more pedantic, and may refuse to compile certain rare and invalid template declarations that were accepted by 4.2.1. To alleviate the problem, this NDK still provides the 4.2.1 binaries, which can optionally be used to build your machine code.

OpenGL ES 2.0 support

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.

A new trivial sample, named "hello-gl2", demonstrates how to render a simple triangle using both shader types.

Name simplification

This NDK release is just called "r3", for "Revision 3", to indicate that it is not limited to a specific Android platform/API level. Some developers thought that the previous release's name (1.6_r1) was confusing and indicated that it could only be used to target Android 1.6, which was not true.

Enjoy!