Late last year, Qualcomm told us that GPU updates through the Play Store would be possible, starting with its new Snapdragon 865 chipset. According to XDA Developers, Xiaomi is the first company to have accomplished the feat, rolling out a GPU driver update for its Snapdragon 865-powered devices through its Chinese app store.
This raises a few questions, because more recently we thought that Qualcomm's driver updating magic was a result of Google's Project Mainline. As much seemed to be implied when we spoke to the company about the subject last year. But, Google has been talking about updating GPU drivers through app stores since 2017, long before Mainline came about. And, it turns out, Xiaomi's solution doesn't depend on Mainline at all.
For the full details, you can check out XDA's original coverage below, but the short version is phone manufacturers can snag updated drivers from Qualcomm, repackage it for their own use (since Qualcomm isn't distributing them themselves), and with a few changes to the system, allow the newly-downloaded driver to take over — possibly only in some cases on a per-app basis, based on a whitelist.
This new update delivers some optimizations for a handful of games like Fortnite and PUBG.
So far, only Xiaomi seems to be rolling out updates in this way, though there are plenty of other Snapdragon 865-equipped phones out there from a wide number of manufacturers. Hopefully, we see similar GPU updates landing via the Play Store.
Our coverage has been updated to include Google's first announcement of GPU driver updating through app stores from 2017, which also predates Project Mainline.
- XDA Develoers