Google Deprecating RenderScript In Favor Of Vulkan Compute

Written by Michael Larabel in Google on 19 April 2021 at 01:59 PM EDT. 28 Comments
Google announced today that with Android 12.0 they will be deprecating their RenderScript APIs. Moving forward Android developers should primarily target the Vulkan API for high performance compute needs.

RenderScript has been an API around since Android 3.0 for heterogeneous CPU/GPU programming and for some time even had a 3D rendering API. RenderScript though has been of less relevance with GPU compute being available for some time via Vulkan and even OpenGL. Some current Android devices only support RenderScript for CPU-only execution and with Android 12.0 the APIs will be deprecated.

Android developers should be planning to use the Vulkan compute/graphics API for performance-sensitive code paths to offload the work to the GPU.

For those needing to target older devices lacking sufficient Vulkan support, Google has also open-sourced a library providing highly-tuned CPU implementations for most of the RenderScript intrinsics -- all but the BLAS intrinsics should be implemented. This new replacement library is showing to be faster for CPU-only execution than former RenderScript support. That replacement toolkit code can be found on GitHub.

"We on the RenderScript team thank you for your support over the years. We understand that transitions are never easy; our focus on cross-platform APIs such as Vulkan will mean even better tools and support for your GPU-accelerated applications," more details on the Android Developers Blog.
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