OnQ Blog

Gaming on Snapdragon now faster with Google and updateable GPU drivers

Mar 23, 2020

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Winning matters. That’s why the best Android gaming smartphones are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform. It is designed to deliver incredible graphics and great battery life so you game and win all day long.

At the heart of the gaming experience in Snapdragon is the Qualcomm Adreno GPU (graphics processing unit.)  The Adreno GPU is the part of Snapdragon that creates incredible graphics so you can play games with super smooth motion (up to 144 frames per second) and in HDR (High Dynamic Range) so you can game in over a billion shades of color.

Late last year, Qualcomm Technologies announced that the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming features will include GPU updateable drivers, a first in the mobile industry. Similar to PC gaming, smartphone users will be able to update their GPU drivers more frequently and take advantage of potential performance and feature gains. 

Fast forward to today, Android games on Snapdragon are about to get turbocharged and finally benefit from this unique feature. Qualcomm Technologies worked with Google to create a tool that will help game studios enhance games, called the Android GPU Inspector. This is a new graphics profiling tool that supports Android GPUs, including Qualcomm Adreno. With this new tool, game developers can analyze their games on the Adreno GPU at a detail level that was not achievable before, to help make optimizations to their games.

Game studios can create optimizations and incorporate them not just into their app, but also give feedback to Google and Qualcomm Technologies to enhance the Adreno GPU software driver. Qualcomm Technologies will make a beta driver available to developers so they can test their optimizations quickly on select devices. This Adreno Graphics Developer Driver will be available to select developers. This will allow game developers to suggest enhancements to the driver and for Qualcomm Technologies to implement them even quicker. The final drivers will also be available in the Google Play store on select devices. Consumers will be able to update their Adreno GPU driver just like an app.

The Android GPU Inspector can offer a massive boost in game performance. While working with a game partner using the Android GPU Inspector and a Pixel 4 XL powered by Snapdragon, Google was able to discover an optimization opportunity that saved the game 40% in GPU utilization. The optimization delivered faster frame rates for smoother graphics and longer battery life.

Google and Qualcomm Technologies are currently collaborating with game studios on the Android GPU Inspector and updateable GPU drivers for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Samsung Galaxy S10 with more device availability coming later.


Qualcomm Snapdragon, Qualcomm Adreno, and Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc and/or its subsidiaries.


Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Salman Saeed

Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies

PJ Jacobowitz

Staff Manager, Marketing, Qualcomm Technologies