Xoom UI

Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) provides full 2D hardware acceleration in applications, and Romain Guy explains the ins and outs of enabling it in your app at the Android Developers Blog.  Mr. Guy is a software engineer for Google's Android project, and is heavily involved in the graphics rendering code for both Gingerbread and Honeycomb, and seeing him take the time to further application development for Android is great.  He's also one hell of a photographer, and some of his work has been used as the stock backgrounds on Android phones.

Developers should check out the source link for all the details, but we'll keep it a little more end-user friendly here.  Hardware acceleration has been around for a while in Android for things like OpenGL games, but now normally coded apps can use and benefit from it as well.  On the Motorola Xoom, all the stock applications already use accelerated 2D graphics, and third party apps can take advantage of it with a single line added to the AndroidManifest.xml file in the source code.  If the app is using the standard set of drawables, all operations will then use the GPU when drawing them on-screen.

There are some other things to consider if you've written custom drawing code, which is why hardware acceleration is disabled by default.  Mr. Guy takes the time to explain what you need to do as well as what operations are supported if you need to go this route.  Looks like we're going to be seeing some awesome third party apps coming up for tablets running Honeycomb.  [Android Developers Blog]

 

Reader comments

Android 3.0 and hardware acceleration

4 Comments
But how about Gingerbread? Obviously 2.3 doesn't (seem to) have it, but what about 2.4? Do we have to wait for Ice Cream to get 2D acceleration on handheld devices, or is the 3.0 for handhelds coming sooner than we might think? Also, when is Honeycomb going to be released to AOSP?
But how about Gingerbread? Obviously 2.3 doesn't (seem to) have it, but what about 2.4? Do we have to wait for Ice Cream to get 2D acceleration on handheld devices, or is the 3.0 for handhelds coming sooner than we might think? Also, when is Honeycomb going to be released to AOSP?

Sounds promising. Does this affect video playback at all? I've heard mixed things about Tegra 2 handling various bitrates of 720p video, and I'm curious if this affects it at all.

I too wondered about video playback on the Xoom as this seems to be the most discussed aspect on the Motorola "Official" Zoom forums. I have an old Archos Android Tablet 5 which, although it has a small screen, plays a wide variety of video formats out of the box. I realise that Archos have "bolted on" their own media player to Android but I am surprised that Android media apps don't seem to take advantage of the GPU and struggle with the extra screen size/resolution of the Xoom.

In this day and age with more powerful tablet CPU's and GPU's are we really expected to recode our media for each media device we have. I have become used to players like VLC and Zoom on my Windows PC that will play just about anything thrown at them. Hopefully apps will take advantage of these additional "power tools" in the near future.