Android Developers Blog: Android 4.0 Graphics and Animations

It’s long overdue, but hopefully now that user interfaces, hardware specs and controls are becoming more standardised (with nearly all current phones boasting powerful GPUs), we can see some substantial gains in application and OS performance. Some applications already have GPU acceleration (something which iOS has long had since the early iPhone), but many don’t, leading to the feeling of animation ‘lag’ or ‘stutter’ by end-users. Benefits also then extend to faster CPU-dependant tasks as well as battery life improvements. IIRC, there was discussion about this at an I/O fireplace chat with the Android team, but they deemed it to be a low priority. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity in this day and age, but it’s important to note that loading times and processing remain largely unchanged.

I had actually noticed there were some applications that ran noticeably smoother in HC (on the TF101) than GB (on the SGS), thanks to GPU acceleration, even though the tablet has to push nearly 3 times as many pixels around the screen. A prime example is the Read It Later app, which maxes CPU usage on it’s jerky page scrolling, but the Instafetch app has buttery smooth transitions with minimal CPU usage, while displaying the same information. Note that many standard apps (such as GMail / HC Browser / GReader / G+) are already GPU accelerated. Also another reason why I choose LauncherPro on the SGS.

“Earlier this year, Android 3.0 launched with a new 2D rendering pipeline designed to support hardware acceleration on tablets. With this new pipeline, all drawing operations performed by the UI toolkit are carried out using the GPU. You’ll be happy to hear that Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, brings an improved version of the hardware-accelerated 2D rendering pipeline to phones, starting with Galaxy Nexus.”

Android Developers Blog: Android 4.0 Graphics and Animations

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