Google announced the launch of the third release of its Android Native Development Kit, enabling developers to target smartphones running Android 1.5 or higher.
In addition to the usual bug fixes and improvements, Android NDK r3 enables applications created for Android 2.0 to directly access OpenGL ES 2.0 features, granting developers the flexibility to control graphics rendering through vertex and fragment shader programs via the GLSL shading language, theoretically paving the way for 3D gaming,
Android NDK r3 also boasts toolchain binaries refreshed with GCC 4.4.0, which should generate slightly more compact and efficient machine code than the previous 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,” writes Google’s David Turner on the Android Developers Blog. “To alleviate the problem, this NDK still provides the 4.2.1 binaries, which can optionally be used to build your machine code.” Turner adds that this release is called simply “r3″ because it is not limited to a specific Android platform/API level, after some developers incorrectly assumed the previous 1.6_r1 was limited to Android 1.6.