Meet Vulkan, The Successor of OpenGL and OpenGL ES 3D Graphics APIs

So far embedded systems are typically using SoCs with GPU supporting OpenGL ES, a subset of the full fledge OpenGL API used in desktop computers and workstations. These royalty-free standards are defined by Khronos Group non-profit organization, and as features in the embedded space and traditional computers merge, the group has now revealed the next-generation OpenGL specs will be called Vulkan. The new API will run on GPUs supporting OpenGL ES 3.1 or greater, take less CPU resources than its predecessors, and support multiple command buffers that can be created in parallel.


More work will be required at the application level, but direct GPU control by the drivers will apparently result in less memory copies improving performance, or at least off-loading the CPU. It might be transparent to developers using game engines. GPU drivers will also be less complex.

Vulkan will also use the new SPIR-V language shared with OpenCL 2.1 for graphics and compute. A (possibly open source) GLSL shader source to SPIR-V translator / compiler will be provided for legacy code.

Vulkan Language Ecosystem

You’ll find more technical details, and some information about tools on Khronos Vulkan page.

I understand that Vulkan is still work-in-progress, but Imagination Technologies has already written alpha Vulkan compatible drivers for their PowerVR GPU, and run their Library demo on Android 5.0, so progress appears to be good, but it looks like more work has to be done to improve performance.

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Google Plans Vulkan API Support for Android, Imagination Shows a DemoonebiranonHarley Recent comment authors
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Valve presents Vulkan (codename: glNext) at GDC2015, as glNext the future of high performance graphics for games

Valva also released GLAVE, an open source debugger for Vulkan, (effectivly VOGL, but for Vulkan)


The GLAVE was done by LunarG, not Valve.


Mediatek SoCs might get a nice Vulkan boost from AMD Radeon:


Vulkan… because Leonard Nimoy died?


[…] Vulkan graphics API is the successors to OpenGL and OpenGL ES API, which will support multi-threaded rendering, move some of the complexity to the applications, and simplify graphics drivers, which may not be a bad things since these tend to be closed source, and bugs may be hard to get fixed. Google, which is now a subsidiary of a new company called Alphabet,  has recently announced that Vulkan will be implemented in future versions of Android, although OpenGL ES will still be supported, so developers can select their preferred graphics API for their apps, as Vulkan will be more complex for application programmers than OpenGL ES. […]