In a move to make its ARM-based Snapdragon S4 (MSM8960) 'Krait' SoC processor more accessible and appealing to Android developers, chipmaker Qualcomm is announcing a software development kit (SDK) that exposes a new set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Access to hither-to-unavailable APIs provides a means for developers to tap into a wider range of features.
Getting to the nitty-gritty of what such access means for developers, Qualcomm lists a bunch of features and benefits made available by the SDK, including facial processing; burst capture; surround sound recording; echo cancellation, and sensor gestures, amongst others.
The SDK is currently available as a preview release on Qualcomm's developer site, and the full version will be provided in the 'coming months' for future Snapdragon processors and platforms. "Qualcomm is always striving to enable developers and device makers to differentiate their offerings via the unique capabilities found in its industry-leading Snapdragon mobile processors," said Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm's Internet Services.
Providing SOC-specific features on top of Android encourages developers to optimise for a particular platform, leading to differentiation and fragmentation. NVIDIA has already gone down this path with its Tegra SDK, where Tegra-optimised apps and games have extra visual treats.
Android-reliant chip providers have realised that while the open-source nature of the OS is a good thing, it is necessary to differentiate the hardware capabilities of their SoCs, in order to provide smartphone customers with features not seen on competing solutions. Fragmentation and Android - three words sure to spark healthy debate.