Google’s last big update to their 3D rendering engine, saw the inclusion of OpenGL ES 3.1 as part of Lollipop. Today Google has announced that Vulkan will now be an option for mobile games developers.
Vulkan, like OpenGL ES is an open source rendering engine maintained by Khronos, the same people behind OpenGL, and while Google will continue to contribute to OpenGL ES, Vulkan will be their priority moving forward. Google will develop and contribute back many of the tests used for the Android Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) to the Vulkan repository moving forward, allowing for better testing for developers.
In the Android Developer blog announcing the addition, Reto Meier Head of Scalable Developer Advocacy at Google said
Vulkan is being designed from the ground up to minimize CPU overhead in the driver, and allow your application to control GPU operation more directly. Vulkan also enables better parallelization by allowing multiple threads to perform work such as command buffer construction at once.
While Vulkan is still under development, Google will continue to offer developers the choice of using OpenGL ES or Vulkan. Developers wanting more information on tools, tests and specs for Vulkan can check out the Khronos website.