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Google purchases GPU benchmarking startup drawElements, in a bid to address hardware fragmentation

DrawElements, a Finnish startup which offers 3D hardware testing software, has become the latest company to join the growing list of Google acquisitions.
July 24, 2014
DrawElements has become the latest company to join the growing list of Google acquisitions, a list that includes the likes of smart home company Nest, traffic navigation assistant Waze, and Deepmind artificial intelligence. The exact cost of the purchase has not been disclosed, but sources put it somewhere in the region of eight figures.

DrawElements, based in Finland, is a 3D graphics company which provides a range of benchmarking and compiler tools for graphics hardware based around common API’s like OpenGL ES and Open CL.

However, this isn’t your standard benchmark speed score affair that you might be used to, drawElements offers software designed to take a much closer look at hardware compatibility issues for software development and feature support checks, which can be used to aid software and hardware development through breaking down the compatibilities of different platforms and hardware. Interestingly, one benefit listed under its dEQP benchmark software is reducing platform fragmentation, something that Android has and continues to struggle with.

Below you can see what the test software is all about, if you like.

Google currently doesn’t exert any major control over what hardware manufacturers can put into their Android powered smartphones or tablet, instead the company only offers limited guidelines, which can be tough to adhere too at times. In the future however, Google may be planning to tighten up these guidelines in order to ensure better compatibility across future GPU hardware.

Furthermore, Google might also chose to incorporate a form of benchmark certification into its Android Silver program, which is expected to tighten up the criteria that has to be met for a product to be considered a premium Android device. It would make sense that all Android Silver devices should be compatible with the same software and offer similar GPU features.

Do you think that stricter hardware requirements would benefit the Android ecosystem, or simply limit consumer choice?