As of yesterday, there is a Native Developer Kit for Android available. This came as a surprise for me, as there were not many rumors covering that topic, but regarding the broad coverage on the iphone 3gs lately, and most of all it's amazing speed, Google certainly had to do something to keep Android in the game.

So this is, from my point of view, a very much strategic decision, placed just at the right time. Android's finally deployed to a number of new devices, not only by HTC, but also Samsung and other vendors are now adopting it. So after this first hurdle being taken, Google realized that there is more to mobile devices than PIM functionality and a browser, plus some location based gimmicks. Games are a massively growing market inside the mobile universe. And they want to have a part of that cake, but without a Native Development Kit and the ability to interface graphics directly from real machine code, the speed impacts induced by using a Virtual Machine to execute code are still too high for big games. Can I prove it? Well, no need to, to cite google here:

In a future release we hope to support linking with OpenGL ES and audio libraries, which should enable high-performance games.

By releasing this kit, Google finally opens Android to all those people not willing to write Java Code that perfoms well ( which is not the way Java is handled anywhere else ) and let's developers to the optimizing of raw code themselves. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the results.