Late last year Qualcomm announced Snapdragon Elite Gaming features would, for the first time in the mobile industry, introduce updateable GPU drivers. The concept will be very familiar to HEXUS readers who will be accustomed to updating their AMD, Nvidia or Intel GPU drivers quite regularly. Updating means the end user can benefit from new features, and gaming optimisations, as well as more mundane but important things like bug fixes. The first such update is set to arrive shortly for select devices, and Qualcomm has shone some light on its Android GPU Inspector tool which allows developers to dive deeper than ever before in analysing their game processing on its Adreno GPU.
Before we go on it is worth mentioning that the quarterly GPU driver updates programme will start to roll out on new and higher end handsets sporting the latest Qualcomm processors. At least initially that means SoCs like the Snapdragon 855/865 and Snapdragon 765/765G will be targeted with updates. More precisely for now, Qualcomm names the first four handsets that will benefit from the initiative; the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Samsung Galaxy S10. We are assured more mobiles will join their ranks in time.
On the topic of performance, Qualcomm says that Google has already been tinkering with its Android GPU Inspector on a Pixel 4 XL and seen some excellent improvements. In one example Google discovered "an optimisation opportunity that saved the game 40 per cent in GPU utilisation". The result precipitated faster frame rates, smoother performance, and less strain on the smartphone battery when gaming.
Qualcomm and Google are already collaborating with games studios using various tools, as well as the new Android GPU Inspector. Resulting new drivers will be distributed via Google Play, not tied to your device manufacturer's OS updates. Having said that, Qualcomm will be sending these updates to device manufacturers which might not stick to Qualcomm's planned quarterly schedule, or if they do there might be a degree of lag before implementation / distribution.