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Android developers get native-code kit

The Android Native Development Kit allows application writers to reuse code in native languages such as C and C++, making it possible to write certain kinds of high-performing apps
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

A native application development kit has been released for Android developers, offering a way to create certain kinds of high-performing applications for handsets running the platform.

Android applications run through the Dalvik virtual machine, which emulates a Java virtual machine. On Thursday, the Android Native Development Kit (NDK) was released, allowing coders to create parts of their Android 1.5 applications outside Dalvik, using native-code languages such as C and C++.

This approach would not ordinarily produce a massive performance boost, but it does allow developers to reuse existing C and C++ code for Android applications.

Android engineer David Turner wrote in a blog post that the NDK, which is an adjunct to the standard Android software development kit (SDK), could be used for writing higher-performing applications, but also had its drawbacks.

"Your application will be more complicated, have reduced compatibility, have no access to framework APIs, and be harder to debug," Turner wrote. "That said, some applications that have self-contained, CPU-intensive operations that don't allocate much memory may still benefit from increased performance and the ability to reuse existing code. Some examples are signal processing, intensive physics simulations, and some kinds of data processing."

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