Google announced at a major graphics conference that Android will support the Khronos Group’s Vulkan 3D graphics API.
Vulkan will perform what’s called low-overhead graphics rendering, which is helpful for creating games that don’t drain so many system resources. In particular, it will be good at reducing the CPU impact of draw calls—much like DirectX 12 on Windows or Metal on iOS.
It’s a logical step as Android already supports the OpenGL ES API, also from the Khronos group. Along with Vulkan, Google announced developers can also opt for OpenGL ES 3.2, which is based on the OpenGL 3.1 and the Android Extension Pack.
Vulkan promises to give developers more direct GPU control, a key factor in improving graphics performance. With this, developers can manage multiple threads and reduce memory and CPU overhead. While Vulkan is still under development, you can check out progress at the Khronos site.
Why this matters: By supporting Vulkan, Google is giving Android developers another open-source tool for improved graphics performance with games and other applications. It’s a key area of development, and necessary to keep up with Apple’s Metal and Microsoft’s DirectX 12.