Imagination launches the world’s smallest OpenGL ES 2.0 GPU for Android and Android Wear

by: Gary SimsJuly 17, 2014

PowerVR GX5300 - mainstream wearables SoC - Android WearImagination Technologies has introduced a new PowerVR GPU that is targeted specifically at wearables, IoT, and other small embedded applications that require OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics. The silicon for the GPU takes up just 0.55 mm2 (post layout) on a 28nm manufacturing process. According to Imagination that makes it the smallest OpenGL ES 2.0 GPU capable of running Android and Android Wear.

The PowerVR GX5300 is optimized for low power solutions like smartwatches, smart glasses and other connected devices.

The PowerVR GX5300 GPU is specifically designed for ultra-low power, low area applications that require OpenGL ES graphic rendering. That makes it perfect for wearables. The current generation of smartwatches can only render graphics using software. However wearables that use the new GPU can reduce the load on the CPU by getting the GPU to do all the hard work. Imagination says that the PowerVR GX5300 can comfortably drive 480p and 720p resolution displays.

OpenGL ES is a subset of the full OpenGL graphics API that is aimed specifically at Embedded Systems (hence the “ES”). It can be used for rendering 2D and 3D computer graphics, typically via a GPU. Android has fully supported OpenGL ES 2.0 since Android 2.2.

The PowerVR GX5300 is based on Imagination’s PowerVR Series5 family of GPUs and it supports a number of important features including unified shaders, and the choice of using low power (FP16) and high precision (FP32) rendering models. The new GPU also supports PVRTC, a texture compression format that reduces memory bandwidth and decreases power consumption. The PVRTC technology helps chip makers reduce memory costs, an important aspect in wearables as smaller means cheaper and lower power.

PowerVR GX5300 - smartwatch

Imagination is an official Android Wear partner and the company is working with Google and silicon vendors to ensure that the PowerVR GX5300 is optimized for low power solutions like smartwatches, smart glasses and other connected devices.

But it won’t only be wearables that can take advantage of this small GPU. Dacor are already using a PowerVR GPU to run its Android user interface on its Discovery Wall Oven. The GUI has been specially designed for use with the oven and the built-in Discovery IQ Controller allows home chefs to access the Dacor Discovery IQ Cooking Application and Guide. It also lets users download more apps through the Play Store, or even lets them view cooking videos over Wi-Fi!

The new GPU could open up a whole new market of power efficient, low-cost devices with compelling 2D and 3D interfaces. There is also the possibility that this GPU will make its way into low-end smartphones and tablets.

  • Guest

    That’s great and all but it’s MIPS based, not the widely accepted ARM architecture…

    • That isn’t actually true, silicon makers can use the PowerVR GPU’s with ARM cores without any problems. Just look at the Samsung Exynos 5410 to name but one.

    • wat

      Android L, especially now that it has dropped JIT and is running on ART is designed and coded to run equally as well on ARM, x86 and MIPS. This is the whole point of installing the code to perform in relation to the architecture of the hardware.

    • Ceo

      I don’t mind with MIPS, but are app developers support it?

    • PowerVR GX5300 is a GPU that can work with any of the three CPU architectures currently supported by Android: ARM, Intel and MIPS.

  • Amit_N

    Powerful GPUs on Wear ? Sure .. We would like to play Candy Crush , GTA , Temple Run on it now.. *sarcasm*

  • Clubber

    “The current generation of smartwatches can only render graphics using software.” Ummm, Android Wear is running on KitKat (and later L release) so it’s definitely leveraging the GPU for graphics rendering.

    The two current Android Wear devices are using the Snapdragon 400 with the Adreno 305 GPU. Not sure why one would think that the GPU wasn’t being used.