Some Snapdragon 855-powered Android phones are set to receive the first GPU driver updates from the Google Play Store.
The news comes out of Google’s Google for Games Developer Summit, which the company is currently hosting online. Alongside the GPU driver announcement, the company also unveiled several new tools to help developers build and optimize games for Android.
One of the more important tools is the new ‘Android GPU Inspector.’ It provides detailed information about a game’s render stages and GPU counter. Previously, this information was not available.
Practically, this means that developers can gain insights with the GPU inspector that can help them improve frame rates and lower power usage during games.
For example, Google used the GPU Inspector on a Pixel 4 XL to discover an optimization opportunity that saved a game 40 percent in GPU utilization. In turn, this meant the game was able to perform with higher frame rates and wasn’t as hard on battery life.
Tools like the GPU Inspector are critical as they allow developers to find optimizations and suggest driver enhancements directly to chipmakers like Qualcomm. Once tested, these improvements can be added to the Adreno GPU driver and released to consumers through Play Store updates.
For users, it means you’ll be able to update your device’s GPU like you would any app from the Play Store. The first devices to get these updates will be the Pixel 4 and 4 XL, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Note 10. Further, Qualcomm and Google are working together to bring GPU updates to more devices “later.”
You can learn more about the other developer tools Google launched at the Google for Games summit here.