An interesting story is making the rounds and flooding our inbox this morning regarding OpenCL drivers in Android devices. The folks from AnandTech have confirmed that both the Nexus 4, and Google’s Nexus 10 have OpenCL drivers in the stock firmware. For those that don’t understand what this means, it’s a hint at the future of both CPU and GPU performance on our mobile devices. Read on for more details.
The folks from AnandTech received a few tips regarding the OpenCL drivers on these devices and after doing a bit of digging were able to confirm both did indeed have it present. OpenCL is a standard that with the right API and drivers, will allow developers to access and use the computational power of parallel devices like multi-core CPUs and GPUs. More importantly, this will allow our mobile devices to offload some of the CPU intensive tasks onto the GPU.
That might sound a bit confusing, but essentially what it means is we’ll be able to squeeze the full potential of power out of our devices GPU for daily tasks, instead of just gaming and things of that sort. A processor like the Tegra 4 which is a quad-core device, also has 72 GPU cores. When we start to see OpenCL in Android those cores will be used to the full extend. Making our devices even faster, more powerful, and thus more efficient too.
We’ve been hearing that both Samsung and Qualcomm have been working on this, and in some instances have demoed the exact thing mentioned above. So far it appears the Samsung Mali T604 in the Nexus 10, as well as Qualcomm’s Krait S4 Pro in the Nexus 4 both are rocking these drivers, and possibly other devices will be too. This technology has been shipping from Intel, AMD, and GPU manufacturers like NVIDIA for some time, and will be interesting to see something like CUDA from NVIDIA possibly in our smartphones.
Instead of Folding@home we might even be able to do Folding@Android in the near future. That probably means nothing for most, so carry on. In the end it looks like we’re one step closer to getting more and more power out of these mobile devices like never before.