Google Play GPU driver updates in development for Pixel 4, S10, and Note 10

Google Play GPU driver updates in development for Pixel 4, S10, and Note 10 thumbnail

In addition to unveiling the Snapdragon 865, Qualcomm last December announced that it would update GPU drivers through the Play Store. At the Google for Games Developer Summit today, both companies provided an update on the effort, including how the Pixel 4 will be one of the first devices to see GPU updates.

Google today announced the Android GPU Inspector to make building and optimizing games on the platform easier. The tool provides detailed information about a game’s render stages and GPU counter that was previously not available. These insights can be used to improve frame rates and lower power usage for longer battery life:

While working with a game partner using the Android GPU Inspector and a Pixel 4 XL powered by Snapdragon, Google was able to discover an optimization opportunity that saved the game 40% in GPU utilization.

Qualcomm worked with Google on the Inspector given the Adreno GPU family’s wide adoption. In using the tool to make optimizations, developers can suggest driver enhancements directly to the chipmaker. An Adreno Graphics Development Driver will be made available to select devs to allow for fast testing of optimizations.

These improvements to the Adreno GPU driver will be compiled and released to consumers as an update through the Play Store. Similar to on PCs, this will bring new features and performance enhancements. The end-user experience will be akin to updating an app, just like with Project Mainline and its modularization of security and other key Android components.

Today’s update reveals how Qualcomm and Google are “currently collaborating” on upgradable GPU drivers for the Snapdragon 855-powered Pixel 4, Samsung Galaxy S10, and Note 10. More devices are “coming later.”

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