Here’s what Android P and Vulkan 1.1 has to offer

In March, the first major update to the Vulkan cross-platform GPU API was released, and as of this week, Google have confirmed version 1.1 will be supported by Android P. Here’s what you need to know about Vulkan 1.1 for Android development.
First of all, there are several features here are big news for the update as a whole, but aren’t likely to be relevant to Android P devices. Multiple GPU support is perhaps the headline feature in this category, as it requires two or more discrete graphics cards to function — not something you’re likely to find on your average Android smartphone, even the expensive ones.
What is more exciting for Android P developers is the improved VR support in Vulkan 1.1. Rather than the current naive approach, where programs must manually generate two perspectives of a single scene, developers using Vulkan 1.1 will be able to use a single rendering command to produce two slightly different outputs. This is called multiview, and should improve performance and reduce complexity in VR applications. This should be welcomed by developers trying to make the most of the limited computing power available on even modern smartphones, especially in a context where immersion is the name of the game.
Vulkan 1.1 will also support DirectX’s HLSL (high level shading language), specifically its particular memory layout. This should make it easier for programmers to port Direct3D code to Vulkan, e.g. if they wish to add Vulkan support to an existing DirectX 12 game, or port a Windows DX12 title to Vulkan 1.1 platforms like Android P.
Of course, Vulkan 1.1 also includes many other changes too numerous to mention here. You can see the Vulkan 1.1 specification for all of the details.
Vulkan has been part of Android since 7.0 Nougat, so developers have had time to realise the advantages it provides for mobile development, particularly in games. With the latest release being included promptly in Android P, developers should be further incentivised to continue using the API or even to try it for the first time.
Outside of native Android games, emulator and benchmark developers have shown a great interest in adding Vulkan support, through the speed and efficiency benefits that the API can potentially provide. With the new improvements to VR, expect to see more VR apps running Vulkan in the months to come.

Finally iOS 10.3 Facilitate developer response to App Store reviews

With the new iOS 10.3 release from Apple, the headline for developers is clear: You finally have a voice.

The new release finally allows developers to chime in on customer reviews. Developers have been able to do his on Android for a while, but the iOS move is new.

TechCrunch reports that “Apple’s ratings and reviews system has felt antiquated, and has been a source of frustration for developers and users alike. When a customer leaves a negative review, developers couldn’t respond to the criticism – which is sometimes unwarranted – in a way that other App Store customers could see. For example, a customer may be misunderstanding a feature, or may have complained about a bug that’s been fixed in a later release.”

Additionally: “Being able to quickly clarify the situation in a public manner could help to encourage other potential customers to give the app a try.”

This is an issue that developers (and those who support them) have felt strongly about.

The Mac Observer writes: “If you want to see developer responses make sure you’re running iOS 10.3 or later on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and mac OS 10.6.6 or later on the Mac. Developers who want to learn more about responding to App Store comments can check out Apple’s developer website.”

There’s another function, too, according to Forbes: “Now developers can update app icons any time without having to submit an update. This can come in handy when developers want to add a seasonal update to their icons such as placing a Santa hat on the artwork.”

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