Games in Android Q could potentially run a lot smoother than in prior firmware versions and utilities could become much more useful thanks to some recently detailed API announced at Google I/O 2019. Those are the AudioPlaybackCapture API and Thermal API but both appear to be directly related to gaming.
The latter of the new tools is arguably the more exciting of the two since it should open up mobile games to take advantage of the same kinds of thermal-based throttling seen on other platforms. In effect, developers who use the Thermal API will be able to get a reading of temperatures being generated by the handset their app is running on.
That will make it easier for settings related to graphics and other computations to be redialed either up or down based on the real-time thermal aspects of the individual device. Right now, developers can automatically detect a range of hardware and retool settings to ensure a smooth experience.
Factoring in thermal aspects of the handset will ensure that can be adjusted in a more granular fashion gradually. For instance, if a high-end device is running cool the settings can be tuned to start at higher settings than normal with certain features being independently deactivated or dialed back as things heat up.
How is audio capture related to gaming?
Screenshots and video screen captures serve a multitude of purposes but, as mentioned above, a portion of this year’s I/O 2019 event was directly tied in with gaming on smartphones. Gaming phones are also becoming more prevalent and changes in Android Q’s beta run have suggested gaming is a big part of the upcoming update.
One of the bigger changes slated to arrive with Android Q relates to how graphics drivers are maintained with a new Vulkan API add-on called ANGLE — an acronym for “Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine.” That was introduced back in Android Q Beta 1, with just three more updates remaining before the firmware is finalized in the third quarter of 2019.
The addition of AudioPlaybackCapture API means that developers will be able to record audio from inside of other applications without needing to rely on external mics. That means applications that used to depend on a smartphone’s own microphone to record audio from an app — and subsequently from the surrounding environment as well as typically with less-than-desirable audio quality — can just tap into the feed directly.
The industry-wide impact
Gaming is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the US alone and a significant portion of that is tied in with media and entertainment that’s separate from actually playing the latest hit titles. Game tournaments and session streaming net popular content creators a substantial amount of money already.
With the numerous improvements to just how good Android games can look and how smoothly they can run, there will likely be further growth in the number of users wanting to record and broadcast their gaming sessions. The new API will not only allow games to operate better on a wider array of devices. They’ll also enable streaming that’s a much more enjoyable experience and grow the entire industry too.