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Qualcomm OpenGL driver turns 2D games into 3D

snapdragon 3d glassesless 640x359Taking a page from the “PC development” book, Qualcomm was demonstrating its latest Open GL driver which can turn 2D games into 3D without intervention from the developers. This demo is running with an Adreno 225 GPU, which can now be commonly found in high-end smartphones like select HTC One handsets or Samsung Galaxy SIII handsets in the USA. In this demo, the Adreno 225 powers a 1080p glasses-less 3D tablet display from master image, which looks much better than their 720p equivalent. When it comes to glasses-less 3D, resolution does matter a lot.

A similar demo was shown at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain but back then, the 2D to 3DC conversion was done on the HDMI signal. Here, the conversion is done at the source: the game which makes this “native 3D content”. The principle is seemingly simple: the OpenGL driver basically handle one command buffer for each eye, and the only difference is the position of the camera which is moved automatically to create the image separation (the command buffer doesn’t necessarily need to be duplicated).

On mobile this should work very well because developers usually don’t do a bunch of 2D processing stuff like blurs, and god-rays etc… As we’ve learned from console development, once people do these things, 3D needs to be thought and integrated early during the game development. This means that while this solution is a great stop-gap measure to provide content right away, in the longer term, 3D will need to be supplemented with developer support.

That said, I can’t really say that I’m super-excited by 3D tablets, but things do look better than they used to, but not to the point where I would watch or play anything for more than 25mn (it’s a personal preference). What do you think? Where is 3D in your tablet priority list?

Transparency: Qualcomm has organized a press tour for a large number of media/analysts, and our trip from San Francisco to San Diego has been arranged by Qualcomm. Many news outlet don’t disclose this, but you should know. More about our travel policy.
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