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Google's Android NDK r7 brings access to Ice Cream Sandwich APIs

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) released revision 7 of its Android NDK, enabling developers to get started with the new native APIs available in the new Android 4.0, a.k.a. "Ice Cream Sandwich."

The NDK--a companion tool to the Android SDK that allows developers to build performance-critical portions of applications in native code--is highlighted by a new low-level streaming multimedia API (based on Khronos OpenMAX AL 1.0.1) that promises a path for media apps that need to maintain complete control over data before passing it to the platform for presentation. "For example, media applications can now retrieve data from any source, apply proprietary encryption/decryption, and then send the data to the platform for display," writes Android SDK tech lead Xavier Ducrochet on the Android Developers Blog. " Also new: An Khronos OpenSL ES-based API enabling apps to decode compressed audio assets to PCM format.

The Android NDK r7 additionally brings CCache support to speed up large rebuilds, a LOCAL_CPP_FEATURES variable allowing developers to declare which C++ features (RTTI or Exceptions) a module uses, and abbreviated paths to source and object files used in build commands. Google also promises a series of experimental features and bug fixes. Download Android NDK r7 here.

Android 4.0 delivers the tablet-optimized innovations introduced in Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb update to all devices in an effort to reduce platform fragmentation. Google has promised that moving forward, the same version of Android will run across all devices, regardless of screen size. Highlights of Android 4.0 include an evolved user interface making common actions more visible, a new typeface optimized for high-resolution screens touts enhanced readability, and new animations and feedback support for more compelling interactions. Android 4.0 also touts new System Bar virtual buttons bringing instant navigation to Back, Home and Recent Apps, as well as more visual multitasking and more interactive notifications.

For more:
- read this Android Developers Blog entry

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