Qualcomm Lets Users Update Adreno 650 GPU Drivers via App Stores
While Qualcomm has officially confirmed its Snapdragon 865, the update brings us more than just a new number, the new Cortex-A77 cores, and a 20% upgraded performance. The new GPU named Adreno 650 is now even 25% faster, due to an increased number of cores; but there is more to the new chipset that will change the user experience.
A Piece of PC Experience
One of these new features is quite familiar to PC power users, but it looks innovative in mobile devices. Now the owners of 865-powered phones will be able to update GPU software from Play Store, just like a regular app. Not that the earlier versions were deprived of any updates, but they usually came as platform updates, and the fixes the manufacturer issued periodically came as security update patches. It was a much harder way to get the users updated.
Now GPU updates will come independently. It will cause some work to Qualcomm, because millions of phones for the Chinese domestic market come without Google services at all. This means Qualcomm will have to release updates for independent Chinese app stores. Thus, users will be granted updates regardless of their country.
Beyond the Visible: Project Mainline
The name seems stolen from some science fiction, but Project Mainline is quite a real and realistic idea. It is meant to redesign the experience for Android users and make it simpler and, at the same, time closer to “bigger” devices. The method implies making updates modular, so they can be installed independently of each other and released sooner.
In fact, it means that Qualcomm can afford driver updates each time an AAA game release is due. The users will get better optimization and issue fixes when possible, without having to wait for a major system update. We can only imagine how it works (and whether it will hit the earlier hardware versions), but it’s meant to be easy and versatile, with no difference from installing and using regular apps. Qualcomm already confirmed that the principle will also be applied to Snapdragon 760/765 chipsets with Adreno 620. So, one doesn’t need to buy a flagship phone to enjoy updatable GPU.
This will guarantee the new titles run on your device without issues. The same method is already used by NVIDIA that offers Game Ready drivers. Qualcomm learns from the best and delivers the same flexibility with Android games that are now just as complicated as desktop ones. When a game is first released or updated, it may cause issues that Qualcomm can urgently address in special patches. These patches may only be necessary for those playing this specific game, and of no need for the rest.
Where Does Qualcomm Take Us?
It’s a step that takes Android closer to full-fledged desktop systems, with customizable hardware sets. Probably, if Android ever becomes a real replacement to Windows or OS X, it will be possible due to Mainline.