Hardware, Software Programs

Android announces MIPS ABI in latest NDK


Tuesday afternoon, Android Developers Forum announced the latest update to their NDK. Last month at Linley Tech Mobile Conference 2012 the audience heard from Amit Rohatgi, MIPS Mobile Architect, that Google would be adding the MIPS ABI into the Android NDK.

The new features for MIPS Developers using Android NDK, Revision 8 are:

  • Added support for the MIPS ABI, which allows [Developers] to generate machine code that runs on compatible MIPS-based Android devices. Major features for MIPS include MIPS-specific toolchains, system headers, libraries and debugging support. For more details regarding MIPS support, see docs/CPU-MIPS.html in the NDK package.
  • By default, code is generated for ARM-based devices. [Developers] can add mips to your APP_ABI definition in your Application.mk file to build for MIPS platforms. For example, the following line instructs ndk-build to build your code for three distinct ABIs: APP_ABI := armeabi armeabi-v7a mips
  • Unless [Developers] rely on architecture-specific assembly sources, such as ARM assembly code, you should not need to touch your Android.mk files to build MIPS machine code.
  • [Developers] can build a standalone MIPS toolchain using the –arch=mips option when calling make-standalone-toolchain.sh. See docs/STANDALONE-TOOLCHAIN.html for more details. 
  • The Android NDK is a toolset that lets developers embed components that make use of native code in Android applications.
  • Android applications run in the Dalvik virtual machine. The NDK allows you to implement parts of your applications using native-code languages such as C and C++. This can provide benefits to certain classes of applications, such as reuse of existing code and in some cases increased speed.

Android 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 an application package file (.apk) that can be deployed on Android devices.
  • A set of native system headers and libraries that will be supported in all future versions of the Android platform, starting from Android 1.5. Applications that use native activities must be run on Android 2.3 or later.
  • Documentation, samples, and tutorials.

An MIPS spokesperson was not available for comment at the time we published the above information.

MIPS Technologies HQ

However, the Android announcement represents the clean signal that Google Android is maturing. After Intel made a lot of public statements about the future of Google Android and its x86 platform, this announcement clearly sends a message that Google wants to cover all the contemporary architectures.

The ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) battlefield is getting crowded.