A few months ago at the 2015 Game Developers Conference (GDC), Imagination announced that the latest version of the Cocos2d-x game engine has been optimized by Chukong Technologies for the Creator Ci20 microcomputer.

Cocos2d-x is an extremely popular open source game engine that supports multiple operating systems, including Android; seven out of the ten top grossing games in China are built using Cocos2d-x and more than 400,000 mobile developers worldwide rely on it for their games.

Creator_ci20_Purple_v3_topCreator Ci20 is a new microcomputer running Android 4.4 Lollipop

Today, I’d like to tell you more about how the Imagination ecosystem is reaching out to new Android developers thanks to the proliferation of accessible development boards and tools.

Gaming on Android

Casual gaming has seen a dramatic evolution in the last three decades, from early 8-bit consoles to present day 64-bit mobile platforms. If the 1980s were all about software-based rendering on bulky PCs, the 1990s brought desktop GPUs and open APIs, ushering in a new era of graphics quality and performance to gaming.

However, it was the turn of the century that marked the shift to a new breed of devices and user experiences. The rapid growth of mobile meant the smartphone became the primary go-to device for personal computing – and gaming adapted accordingly.

One of the companies that has played a central role in this (r)evolution of gaming has been Google. Google Play has been instrumental in providing a platform for developers to build successful businesses, by creating a new paradigm where the same application could run on multiple hardware architectures and many form factors, including phones, tablets, smart TVs and even wearables.

Google PlayGoogle Play offers a game for everyone

Even though AAA titles sometimes capture the spotlight at glamorous launch events, some of the most popular titles in 2014 (in terms of downloads) have been highly addictive casual or arcade games like Temple Run, Candy Crush, Fruit Ninja, Doodle Jump; 8-bit gaming is also making a huge comeback thanks to immensely popular indie games like Flappy Bird.

Every young developer wishing to hatch the next Angry Birds needs access to affordable hardware and software. This is where the Imagination ecosystem steps in, providing a complete set of tools developers need to create amazing content.

Hardware

The list below includes several development boards that leverage Google’s mobile OS and offer high performance graphics; some even get close to console-quality performance at a fraction of the price!

Software

Imagination has set up an online community for Android developers designed to inspire the next generation of makers to create exciting new apps and help existing developers find reliable hardware to refine their work before releasing it in the wild. We also offer a comprehensive list of free PowerVR SDKs and tools for Android, and extensive support for application developers on our forums.

If you’re starting out, fret not – our team is extremely helpful and can get you up and running in no time.

Looking to the future

I’m very excited about the future of Android and mobile devices. The recent wave of affordable development platforms will hopefully turn more and more of today’s hopeful kids into tomorrow’s expert developers.

These devices definitely have a cool factor that has been proven to get everyone interested in getting under the hood.

Interested in the latest news and updates from Imagination? Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationTech, @PowerVRInsider, @MIPSdev), LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+

About the author: Alex Voica

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Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

View all posts by Alex Voica