Vulkan is a new 3D graphics API from the makers of OpenGL. It’s an open standard that the developers at Khronos say will be more efficient than OpenGL, and it will also give developers more control over how their games and applications behave.
Khronos launched a technical preview of Vulkan earlier this year and continues to develop the platform. Wondering what kind of devices will support the standard in the future? Google is adding support for Vulkan to Android, and Khronos says SteamOS, Tizen, Ubuntu, Red Hat, and other Linux distributions will support the API as well.
Vulkan is still under development and won’t be finalized until closer to the end of 2015. But Google says it will also continue to support OpenGL, and Khronos has announced a new OpenGL ES 3.2 specification that makes use of Google’s Android Extension Pack feature.
We probably won’t see Vulkan support in Android M, but it could be included in the next version of Google’s mobile operating system which will likely be released in 2016.
Vulkan lets app developers directly control GPU acceleration without using a driver as an intermediary. This could make programming with Vulkan a little tougher, but it also reduces power consumption and CPU usage, while giving developers more control.
Khronos says Vulkan should work with just about any hardware that supports OpenGL ES 3.1 or later, which means most high-end smartphones or tablets released in the last 6-12 months should be able to utilize the technology. But Vulkan isn’t just designed for mobile devices: the API is designed to run on a range of devices including products with desktop, mobile, and console-style hardware.
Want a sense of what Vulkan can do? Imagination Technologies has a demo of Vulkan running on a Google Nexus Player with Google Android software and a PowerVR G6430 graphics processor. In the video below, the left-hand side shows the “Gnome Horde” demo running with the Vulkan API, while the right-side shows the same demo with OpenGL ES 3.0.
more details at AnandTech