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. Read More
Updating the graphics drivers on your smartphone isn't something you think about, because it isn't something you have much of any control over. That's because, for now, those driver updates generally only come alongside larger OS updates that your phone receives once a year (if you're lucky). With the Snapdragon 865, that's about to change, likely thanks to the changes Google has made to Android with Project Mainline, announced at Google I/O earlier this year. Read More
Today ARM has announced four new IP designs for the mainstream market that promise to improve users' experience in several ways: faster and more responsive smart assistants, higher performance and longer-lasting mobile gaming, and display technology in various sizes with sharper visuals and better performance. Read More
There are two major limitations to running Linux applications on Chromebooks — audio doesn't work, and graphics aren't accelerated. Google originally aimed to fix these issues in Chrome OS 71, but that didn't happen. Thankfully, GPU acceleration is a bit closer to reality, according to a series of commits to the Chromium Gerrit. Read More
In all of the Android 9 Pie news yesterday, this little bit slipped under the radar. Google wasn't completely wrapped up in announcing and releasing the latest version of Android; no, it was also acquiring a small company that could benefit our favorite operating system, just not in a truly user-facing way (unless we want to get really technical). GraphicsFuzz, a three-man firm based in the UK, is joining the Android Graphics Team to improve GPU security and driver stability going forward. Read More
While Samsung's devices in North America have used Snapdragon processors for years, the company also develops its own Exynos processors for international models. But when it comes to graphics, Samsung still uses ARM's 'Mali' GPU family across all its phones and tablets. According to a new job listing on LinkedIn, Samsung wants to develop its own GPUs for a wide range of devices - including phones. Read More
Today ARM has announced its new Mali G52 and G31 GPU designs, respectively targeting so-called "mainstream" and high-efficiency applications. The bigger G52 will someday make its way into more demanding use cases like TVs and high-end phones, where its 3.6x performance improvements in machine learning/AI workloads can be appreciated, while the G31 brings ARM's Bifrost architecture, Vulkan and all, to a more affordable level. Read More
A pretty nifty new feature was talked about at last night's Android Fireside Chat. In addition to the other O features and the rest of the announcements at I/O, it was revealed that we'll soon be able to update our graphics drivers through the Play Store. This is a feature that is presumably only going to be present in O. There's no word yet on the specifics as to how that might work, or which OEMs or chipset manufacturers might be interested in taking advantage of it, but as of yesterday we know it's coming. Read More
Earlier this month, I wrote about possibly the worst benchmarking application I had ever seen, 'Nenamark.' But Geekbench has come to save the day, bringing their Geekbench 4 benchmarking utility to Android. Geekbench is another cross-platform benchmarking program, so you can compare your results to a wide range of devices.
The Android Geekbench app, at least compared to the Windows/macOS equivalents, seems rather simplistic. You can benchmark your device's CPU and GPU, which are displayed as a number at the end (unlike Nenamark). The CPU benchmark performs both single-core and multi-core results, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, Geekbench's battery test has been removed in this version. Read More
Benchmarking applications like 3DMark and PassMark are great for scoring the graphics or computational power of a given device. Nenamark 2 was a popular choice for benchmarking graphics back in the day, and five years after Nenamark 2 launched, Nenamark 3 has arrived. It's not clear why.
I hesitate to even call Nenamark 3 a benchmarking app. It's designed like a game - the benchmark proceeds through levels, each level having up to four tests. But the benchmark ends as soon as your device can't reach a steady FPS arbitrarily determined by the Nenamark app. So instead of a useful score like an average FPS or the time it took to complete the test, my Nexus 5X gets a score of "3-0." Uhh... Read More