May 21, 2019 | Updated: 09:45 AM EDT

Android To Integrate Vulkan As A GPU API

Aug 11, 2015 06:02 PM EDT


GPU is one of the main components of an Android device, and the best way to maximize it would be to ensure that the OS, Android, knows how to use the resources efficiently.

The Android team recently announced that it is opening up the graphics API to Vulkan, a graphics rendering API created and maintained by The Khronos Group. This means that Android app developers will now have a choice whether to use Vulkan or OpenGL ES for the graphics rendering for their apps.

These new integrations mean that the end user will be able to enjoy higher-resolution graphics on their apps, which their devices will be able to cope with, because Vulkan is touted to be a more advanced graphics API than the OpenGL ES. Expect games with rich content to render more seamlessly and with less sluggishness and lag.

Vulkan, however, is expected to be completed by the end of the year. So the API may not be implemented until the next upgrade after Android M. Pundits are speculating that Android M is too far along the development phase to integrate Vulkan, plus Vulkan’s rollout schedule is way beyond the launch date for Android M. Expect next year’s generation of the Android to support the Vulkan API, however.

Meanwhile, the Android M will roll out with the 3.2 version of OpenGL ES, as well as the OpenGL ES Android Extensions Pack. These were already implemented on Android 5.0.

Here are the features of the OpenGL ES 3.2 with the Android Extensions Pack integration:

-ASTC compression is implemented in order to maximize the use of resources involved in processing textures. Memory and bandwidth are used more efficiently thanks to this.

-In order to properly handle multiple color attachments, as well as sophisticated compositing, the API incorporates an enhanced blending mechanism.

-Complex scenes will be processed by the GPU more efficiently thanks to geometry and tessellation shaders.

-Robustness, as well as debug features, were integrated for a more secure execution as well as to provide better ease in code development.

-More features such as floating point render targets, and advanced texture targets like multisample 2D array, texture buffers, cube map arrays, and the like, add to the richness and flexibility in graphics rendering. Floating point render targets give way to better flexibility in higher precision rendering operations.

Expect Vulkan to be even more flexible, robust, as well as have the capacity to handle higher precision compute operations. Vulkan may also be able to maximize some manufacturers’ GPU modules better than OpenGL ES.

OpenGL ES is also maintained by Khronos.

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