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Google is bringing a new graphics API to Android

This chart explains the differences between OpenGL ES and Vulkan
This chart explains the differences between OpenGL ES and Vulkan
The new graphics API for Android will help developers retain more control when creating apps.

In 2014 Apple announced something called Metal for iOS 8, and it helped give developers more power while they worked on creating new applications. Google is bringing something similar to Android for the first time, and the graphics API is called Vulkan. It is low-overhead and is designed to give developers more access to the GPU to better control the rendering of the graphics.

Some are calling Vulkan the next step for OpenGL, and although the developers, the Khronos Group, announced the new technology a few months ago, Google had not yet announced the fact that they would be allowing the standard to come to Android. Since the API is still not ready to be rolled out, it is likely that it will be a feature of the Android operating system that replaces Android M. Seeing as most users of the operation system still have Android 4.4 KitKat rather than the latest version of the OS called Lollipop, it could be a few years until most devices can take advantage of the technology.

Until the full adoption of Vulkan, Google says it will continue to support OpenGL ES for its mobile operating system. It is widely regarded for its ease of use, but Vulkan will give more control, and will allow for developers to make apps that create an even better experience for the users. With Apple' s Metal being such a positive change for iOS and soon Mac OS X developers, this is a step in the right direction for Android.


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Joseph Lambert, 2015-08-11 (Update: 2015-08-11)