Google has just released the latest incarnation of its Android Native Development Kit. It is now available for download at http://developer.android.com/sdk/ndk/index.html. This new version, Android Native Development Kit revision 3 (NDKr3) was given a simpler name to indicate that is not limited to a particular Android platform/API level. This new update is applicable to all devices running Android OS 1.5 or higher. It fixes a number of bugs and includes some new features.
The most remarkable of these new upgrades is probably the inclusion of OpenGL ES 2.0 support. Game developers intent on creating applications for Android 2.0 can now tap all the capabilities of OpenGL ES 2.0. Developers will be able to control 3D graphics rendering through vertex and fragment shader programs, using the GLSL shading language. The Android OS has been widely criticized for being a poor second to the iPhone OS platforms which already supported OpenGL ES 2.0 since last year. The advent of OpenGL ES 2.0 has ushered in visually-rich 3D games for mobile gadgets. The success of iPhone 3GS with its plethora of stunningly realistic 3D games has proven that people appreciates the technology.
Android’s move to join the OpenGL ES 2.0 will make Android handsets like Sprint Motorola i1 at par with those from Apple. Game and application developers will be more interested to create complex 3D apps for the Android platform because of this new NDKr3 release. It will be very interesting to see a full 3D game running on Motorola Droid or the Nexus One. These 2 Android phones have the necessary hardware requirements. It is now up to third-party developers if they will take time to make OpenGL 2.0 3D games for them.
Aside from the enhanced OpenGL 2.0 support, the new update also comes with improved toolchain binaries in line with GNU Compiler Collection (GCC 4.4.0), which should generate more condensed and efficient machine code than the prior release (4.2.1). I hope Samsung Bada OS can keep up with the new features in Android as Samsung Bada is a new operating system exclusive to Samsung mobile phones (at the moment) that aims to rival Windows Phone 7 and other mobile OS, hoping to gain a larger market share in this growing business.