Google engineer explains Android graphics and hardware acceleration

Monday, 5 December 2011

The performance of a user interface is of paramount importance - we ourselves have often been annoyed with dropped frames on even the fastest dual-core processors. Many have pointed out that on Android this could easily be solved with full hardware graphics acceleration. But is that really so? Dianne Hackborn working as an Android engineer over at Google apparently had enough reading misunderstandings about the way Android treats graphics and posted a very interesting and informative note on Google+.

Google engineer explains Android graphics and hardware acceleration
First, she notes, Android has always used some form of hardware acceleration. But while the earlier versions supported it only partially, Android 3.0 Honeycomb for tablets introduced full hardware graphics acceleration. This allows to leverage the GPU’s resources actively instead of relying on software only. Previously, many of the animations would rely on the processor, so that it took virtually all of the load which in turn compromised other operations where processing power is needed. 

Now, in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich the hardware acceleration is “not any more full” than in Honeycomb. It does changes however some nuances, so that in ICS hardware acceleration is enabled by default. Thus, all drawings will be made using the GPU. The post continues to explain why that’s not always a brilliant idea, so don’t hesitate to hit the source link below for all the little interesting details. 

source: Dianne Hackborn via TheVerge


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