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Google development kit could mean Firefox on Android

Last week's release of the Android Native Development Kit could spur interest in an Android version of Fennec, the Firefox-based mobile browser.

Last Thursday, Google's Android developers announced the availability of the Android Native Development Kit (NDK), which enables developers to write at least part of their applications in native code.

Until this release, Android applications all ran in the Dalvik virtual machine, an implementation of the Java platform.

According to the post on the Android Developers blog, the NDK provides "a set of tools and build files used to generate native code libraries from C and C++ sources; a way to embed the corresponding native libraries into application packages files (.apks) that can be deployed on Android devices; [and] a set of native system headers and libraries."

The post warns that using the NDK has some drawbacks, such as reduced compatibility and increased complexity.

Nevertheless, the release appears to have increased the chances for Firefox to someday run on Android smartphones.

Last year, a Mozilla executive described Android as a closed platform and said the organization wasn't focused on Android development.

Now, though, in a statement to CNet, Mozilla VP of mobile Jay Sullivan said, "Developers are taking a look at the NDK to see if it provides the capabilities we need to bring Fennec to Android. If it's possible, I think our community would be interested in doing it, because Android will be appearing on more smartphones with the capabilities to provide a good browsing experience."


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