Simulator News: BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps gets Hardware Graphics Acceleration

Android Development

The BlackBerry® Runtime for Android apps has used its own software implementation of OpenGL. Release 10.0.6 of the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha Simulator and beta release 2.1.0 of the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ Simulator now support hardware accelerated graphics.

One of the problems with implementing hardware acceleration on the Android runtime is that the graphics driver assumes it’s running closer to the hardware than it actually is; the player must know of a method of uploading its compositor’s data directly to the hardware. Normally this can be done via a method like glTexImage2D, which is actually implemented as a fallback method in Android. For optimal performance however, the compositing architecture would have to make use of direct buffer access through its gralloc module. The trick is in giving Android the right hooks into the Mesa3D driver that allows it to go around the regular conventions. With a bit of finesse and a lot of work, the BlackBerry 10 simulator now has a fully hardware accelerated Android runtime.

How To: Enabling hardware graphics acceleration

Current simulators have 3D acceleration enabled by default. To check whether acceleration is enabled, open your Virtual Machine Settings in VMWare Player and in the Display tab check “Accelerate 3D graphics” as seen here:

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Demonstration

In the following video, you’ll see the difference hardware acceleration can make in the Android runtime:


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