Update, July 28, 2020 (2:20 a.m. ET): Qualcomm announced the ability to download GPU driver updates through app stores late last year, largely restricted to flagship and higher-level phones. Xiaomi was one of the first to implement this feature, in the form of a dedicated GPU driver update app for the Mi 10 series.
Now Oppo has done the same for the Find X2 series (h / t: XDA-Developers), with users downloading a dedicated update utility from an app store. Much like Xiaomi however, this app is apparently limited to China at the moment. Additionally, the outlet reports that while the app can be downloaded as a secondary download on Find X2 series phones, it looks like you can’t actually update GPU drivers through the utility.
The news also comes sometime after Qualcomm said Android Authority that it “commits to a quarterly rate” of updated drivers for manufacturers. So you shouldn’t expect a monthly release schedule, but how long will a chipset take with these updates?
“While we can commit to supporting chipsets for two to three years after launch, the OEM has the final say on the deployment of the new drivers to its customers,” the silicon designer told the time. “Some OEMs have a good reputation for supporting software updates for older devices, while others do not.”
Original article, March 24, 2020 (5:33 a.m. ET): Qualcomm announced the possibility of providing GPU driver updates through the Play Store in December 2019, initially claiming that it would be limited to new chipsets (starting with the Snapdragon 865 and 765 series).
Now the company has announced that several Snapdragon 855 phones will be the first to receive GPU driver updates in this way (h / t: 9to5Google). These phones are the Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Google Pixel 4 series, with Qualcomm saying more devices will benefit from the “later” feature.
This announcement is part of a partnership with Google for the Android GPU Inspector tool for developers. This profiling tool allows developers to inspect mobile GPU usage (including Qualcomm’s Adreno GPU) in games to determine where improvements can be made.
In fact, Qualcomm claims that Google and a developer partner used the tool to achieve 40% savings on GPU usage in an unnamed game on the Pixel 4 XL. The silicon designer said this optimization results in a faster frame rate and better battery life.
Qualcomm has also confirmed that it will make a beta version of the Adreno GPU driver available to certain developers, who can then give their comments and suggestions for future driver updates.
“The final drivers will also be available in the Google Play Store on select devices. Consumers will be able to update their Adreno GPU driver as an application, ”the company reiterated.
We’ve reached out to Qualcomm to learn more about GPU driver updates through the Play Store, and will update the article when they get back to us. We also asked Samsung if this feature is limited to Qualcomm devices and are awaiting a response. But it certainly seems like a welcome feature, as it’s poised to deliver smoother performance for budget phones and flagship devices (especially as time goes on).
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Source: Android Authority