Although recent releases of Android have added new functionality to the RenderScript runtime, the runtime’s dependence on the core Android platform version have limited the range of devices that can support the new features. With the latest RenderScript Support Library and updated SDK tools, developers can now take advantage of RenderScript on plaforms back to Android 2.2 (Froyo). With ADT v22.2, SDK Tools v22.2, and Android Build Tools v18.1.0, application developers targeting Android 2.2 … and later can now make use of almost all of the functionality available natively in RenderScript with Android 4.3, including access to high-performance intrinsics. The ‘almost all’ seems to refer to the following limitations:
- Allocation.USAGE_IO_INPUT and Allocation.USAGE_IO_OUTPUT are not currently available in the RenderScript Support Library.
- Devices running Android 4.2 and earlier will always run their RenderScript applications on the CPU, while devices running Android 4.3 or later will run their RenderScript applications on whatever processors are available on that particular device.
Because the Support Library versions of the scripts have to be precompiled to support all possible platforms, there is a performance hit when running the precompiled scripts compared to runtime compilation on Android 4.3 due to more restrictions on compiler optimizations.
Commenting on the release, Tim Murray of the Renderscript team added, “We’re really pleased with how the RenderScript Support Library has turned out. We’ve already seen how it performs in a shipping app — it’s been part of the photo editor in the Google+ Android app since May 2013, and it’s definitely proven itself in a large and widely used application. We hope you’ll be happy with it too.”
For full details and SDK download links read Tim Murray’s Blog Post