Android O Will Allow Mobile Graphics Driver Updates Via The Play Store

The recently revealed "Android O" may not have knocked it out of the park for Google, but there is a nifty feature coming to the upgraded platform that will appeal in particular to mobile gamers — graphic driver updates independent of full OS ones.

Google's Romain Guy parted the knowledge in a Q&A during one of Google I/O 2017's technical sessions:

Updating all graphics drivers — we now, in O, have the ability to update graphics drivers from the [Google] Play store.

I'd like to give you more information, but that's all Guy revealed. Nothing regarding vendor support or functionality.

Depending on how flexible the update process is, it could allow game and app-specific performance tweaks to be released way ahead of official platform patches.

GPU companies such as NVIDIA and AMD do this all the time for big game releases and while the market is quite different on mobile, the rise of VR and AR could make the need for "hotfixing" significantly more relevant.

Google I/O'17: Channel 2 [YouTube, via Android Police]


    I wonder if this ties in with the "Treble" vendor interface they announced:

    If they are trying to make a cleaner separation between the platform independent and platform specific parts of Android, then doing modular upgrades like this is a bit more achievable.

      If they extend this system to all drivers, it'll make the custom ROM scene much more viable too. One of the biggest things holding back custom ROMs has been the difficulty of making sure the package works across different devices with different hardware, as most manufacturers don't publish their drivers for separate download.

        It will have a huge effect on the custom firmware scene. At the moment, each particular handset is an island, often with individuals working on a firmware image that will only work with one handset.

        For Treble handsets, there is the possibility of preparing a single operating system image, and then combining it with the existing low level vendor implementations to support a large number of handsets. Suddenly it is a lot easier to grow a wide user base for your firmware beyond a single handset. It should also be easier to get more people involved in a project.

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