Samsung Galaxy S7 finally receives support for the Vulkan graphics API

Back in April, at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco, Samsung showed off its TouchWiz launcher based on the Vulkan graphics rendering API, making claims about improved battery life and performance. The company promised that the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge would be the first smartphones to support the new API, and although it didn't quite keep its word, support for it has finally rolled out to the S7 siblings alongside the August security patch.

Vulkan is a 3D graphics API, natively supported by Android 7.0 Nougat on compatible devices, that grants developers more direct and granular control over the device's graphics processor, allowing in turn for much better-looking games to run on relatively modest mobile hardware. It could be said that Vulkan is to Android, what Metal is to iOS.

The Vulkan-based TouchWiz launcher is still nowhere to be seen, but the majority of people are nonetheless primarily excited about the bump in graphical performance associated with the API's name. At E3 2016, Samsung demonstrated how different Need for Speed: No Limits would look like from its current version when running on a Vulkan-enabled Galaxy S7, and the demo really was impressive. The side-by-side comparison between the standard and spiced-up versions of the game showed enough of a difference to make us excited about what's to come. Well, it's here now – the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge finally received support for Vulkan about a week ago, but do keep in mind that games that take advantage of the new API are still a ways off. Well, here are some cool tech demos and comparisons to keep the graphics snob inside you alive while we wait for some pretty games to come out:

via Reddit



1. xdza1979

Posts: 296; Member since: Aug 08, 2015

Android Master Race.

3. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

iOS has metal for years now.

10. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well, yes unfortunately they could easily have adopted vulkan or others instead of going their own, rather weird API level, but then again Apple never adopted opengl fully either so yeah :( still a shame Apple doesn't embrace the great open API's out there.

4. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

It's PC.

2. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

As vulkan and other low level APIs take over with the demise of OpenGL, ARM and Imagination need to up their game with more ALUs in their GPUs, since these APIs tend to perform really well on GPUs with high compute performance, or in other word, high GFLOP count. On desktop side, it has been already demoed that DX12 and vulkan can take advantage of upto 6 cores with almost linear scaling in drawcalls. Also GPUs with high ALU like AMD's GCN is destroying Nvidia's Maxwell in DX12 and vulkan. Also things like support for ray tracing, asyncronous compute become really important. TL;DR on what is going to happen: Snapdragon 820 will absolutely demolish other GPUs in games which will be properly optimized for vulkan. ARM will need to step their game up in new GPU launches since the Mali GPUs will start to suck as time goes by.

6. Sidewinder

Posts: 515; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Will there be any support for older soc like the sd805 and sd810?

7. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

I don't think so.

9. UglyFrank

Posts: 2200; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Mobile GPUs which support Open GL ES 3.1 should be able to support Vulkan but new drivers are required

5. TmoRep

Posts: 107; Member since: Apr 20, 2016

When is the roll out for the Note 7? If ever.

8. XDAdam

Posts: 276; Member since: Feb 03, 2016

So it's in the form of an update... meaning carrier branded models will see it sometime between November and March.

11. Puddss

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 26, 2014

I'm finally getting the new Vulkan 3D api now. It's downloading as I write this.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless