Google Opens the Door for Firefox on Android

Pulkit Chandna

Last week, Google rolled out a native development kit for Android developers. Developers can now create Android apps using native-code languages such as C and C++. Prior to the release of the Android Native Development Kit, applications for the platform could only be written in Java and run using Google’s Dalvik Java virtual machine.

The NDK has elicited some interest among software developers, with Mozilla being the most prominent of the lot. Mozilla is now giving serious thought to bringing Fennec , the mobile version of its Firefox web browser, to the Android platform.

"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," Mozilla’s VP of mobile Jay Sullivan said.

Although running software natively can aid performance, there are other factors to offset that advantage. "Your application will be more complicated, have reduced compatibility, have no access to framework APIs, and be harder to debug,” Android engineer David Turner warned in a blog post announcing the release of the NDK.

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