Last week, the Android Native Development Kit was released, allowing developers to code their apps in C or C++, rather than using the Java virtual machine apps had been running on to date. This new tool has tickled Mozilla’s fancy, and they’re now considering bringing their in-development mobile browser, Fennec, to Android as a result. Before this, Mozilla had ruled out both Android and BlackBerry explicitly because of this roadblock, but having greater access to native code libraries could blow that complaint square out of the water. Mozilla’s VP of mobile, Jay Sullivan, had this to say:
“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.”
Windows Mobile has been seen dipping its toes in the Fennec beta pool, and hopefully it won’t take long for Android to get up to speed. Mozilla and Google are pretty cozy with one another (heck, they’re neighbours), to the point where Fennec has already built in Google Location Services that allow the browsing experience to be tailored to your GPS coordinates. Android’s default “Chrome Lite” browser is pretty smooth, but Fennec has lots of goodies to bring to the table, like the legendary Awesome Bar, plug-in and Flash support.
Fennec aside, programming at the C-level is great news for developers and really shows Google’s dedication to making Android the platform of choice for the people making the apps.