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

July 17, 2014
PowerVR GX5300 - mainstream wearables SoC - Android Wear
Imagination 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.