Samsung Galaxy Note 10 & Galaxy S10 Android 10 update hints at imminent Game Driver feature (updateable GPU drivers)?

Mobile gaming is very popular today yet it somehow feels like it is just the beginning. Even so, one reason PC gaming still tops is the ability to update GPU drivers more frequently and subsequently take advantage of potential performance improvements and new features in the updates.

With mobile gaming still on the rise, especially now that gaming-centric smartphones are all over, popular chipset maker Qualcomm has constantly been working to improve the experience of mobile gamers in various ways and the latest move involves what it calls the Game Driver.

The American company announced details of the Game Driver while revealing the improvements included in the Adreno 650 GPU found in the latest flagship chipset, Snapdragon 865.

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.
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At the time, Qualcomm said that the Adreno 650 GPU will allow users to update their device’s graphic drivers independently via software updates, you know, much like you update your apps.

Apparently, these GPU updates will be available for select developers who will then distribute them to eligible devices for as long as your phone is available through the Google Play Store.

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.
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So far, Snapdragon 865-powered devices like the Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra are guaranteed this Game Driver feature. But there is also room for older devices like the Google Pixel 4, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Samsung Galaxy S10, at least according to Qualcomm.

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.
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However, the older devices like Galaxy S10 and Note 10 must first be upgraded to Android 10 (One UI 2.0 or One UI 2.1) before the Game Driver feature can be applied.

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This should explain why various Note 10 and S10 units are now showing signs of the Game Driver feature (updateable GPU drivers) coming soon, but then again, there is no official word from Samsung that this will be happening in the foreseeable future.

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Owners of Exynos-powered Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and S10 units are also in the mix, at least going by the discovery shared in the screengrab below.

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What remains unclear is to what extend Samsung and co. will be willing to support updateable GPU drivers, but my guess is that it could remain a premium feature for some time before eventually trickling down to the mid-range handsets.

Featured image source: Jon Lamont

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Hillary Keverenge

Review Editor. Besides phones, I also enjoy the farm, music, football, and, of course, food.