Native App Development On Android

Native App Development On Android

In this post we’ll take a look at native app development on Android and how you can build native Android apps using the Android NDK.

With Android being the most popular mobile OS in the world, Android app development is naturally the top choice for mobile app developers today. Android apps can be developed using both of Google’s development tools: the Android SDK and the Android NDK. The Android SDK is based on Java while the Android NDK based on C/C++. However when you need the absolute fastest performance possible in your native Android app, the Android NDK is the way to go. Since the Android NDK allows the embedding of C and C++ components within Android apps, which makes it ideal for developing apps that require fast performance. Using the NDK for native app development on Android has both benefits and disadvantages, such as:

  • The Android NDK allows the most performance-intensive pieces to be as close to the hardware as possible
  • The developer must now handle some details that were previously handled by the Dalvik Virtual Machine (VM), making development more complicated
  • With the Android NDK, the developer is responsible for optimizing native code and understanding which pieces of each app should be native

Looking at the these pros and cons, its obvious that you shouldn’t always use the Android NDK in your app’s development, since it can add to your app’s complexity. Ideally, you should only use native app code when:

  • Processing data or computing physics for games
  • You need access to existing native libraries and high performance code
  • You need to optimize computationally expensive processing such as audio, video, or image processing
  • Seamless multi-device messaging – since the GCM service maps a single user to a notification key, you can use that key to send a single message to multiple devices owned by the user

In Google’s own words “Before downloading the NDK, you should understand that the NDK will not benefit most apps. As a developer, you need to balance its benefits against its drawbacks. Notably, using native code on Android generally does not result in a noticeable performance improvement, but it always increases your app complexity. In general, you should only use the NDK if it is essential to your app, never because you simply prefer to program in C/C++.”

As a developer you should know when to use the Android NDK when developing any app, since it has more drawbacks, particularly in terms of development and code complexity, than benefits. Only developers who need to access existing code or need to maximize performance can truly benefit from using native code in their Android apps. Everyone else should avoid using the Android NDK altogether.

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As a leading mobile app development company (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, HTML5 app development), Folio3 offers native app development services and cross platform mobile app development services (for both enterprise and consumer oriented apps). We also offer extensive mobile app testing and QA services. If you have a mobile app idea that you’d like to discuss please or would like to know more about our iPhone Android and Windows Phone app development services, please Contact Us. Learn more about our iPhone, Android and Windows Phone app development services


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