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Google has opened the door to iPhone-like 3D games on certain Android handsets, offering support for the OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics standard with its latest Android Native Development Kit (NDK).

Mountain View announced the third release of its Android NDK in a Monday blog post. The chief addition is Open GL for Embedded Systems 2.0 native libraries, bringing the platform in line with Apple's iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre.

Android applications run inside Google's very own Java virtual machine, known as Dalvik, but since June the company has offered a kit that lets you embed components written in native code languages such as C and C++. The kit as a whole can be used to target devices running Android 1.5 or higher, but OpenGL ES 2.0 is only available for Android 2.0 or higher. The latest version of Google's (semi-)open source mobile stack is Android 2.1, which debuted with the company's very own Nexus One Phone.

Mozilla is using the Android NDK to bring Firefox to Google's platform, and according to Cnet, the open sourcers plan on switching development to OpenGL.

You can download the latest Android NDK for Windows, Mac or Linux here. The kit includes a sample application that uses OpenGL ES 2.0 vertex and fragment shaders. In supporting the standard, Google makes it easier for developers to move their existing ES 2.0 games to the platform. ®

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