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Adreno 320 GPU could help bring Lytro photography, smaller games to phones

Qualcomm's new Adreno 320 GPU could help bring Lytro-style light-field photography to phones, Tim Leland, Qualcomm's director of Adreno product management, has said.

The key is Adreno 320's support for general purpose processing on its GPU and OpenCL support, which allows for quick processing of after-the-fact focus on a light-field image.

"It's much easier to program computationally intensive, parallel computing-type use cases, Leland said.

But that doesn't mean Lytro is coming to phones soon. Qualcomm doesn't make the image-capture hardware, and right now there is no light-field lens system appropriate for inclusion in mobile phones.

Light-field images could be processed with previous GPUs, but "you'd be more limited" in being able to refocus images promptly, Leland said.

The Adreno 320 GPU isn't available in any current devices; it's part of Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro chip line, which is in devices that should be coming out before the end of the year.

Adreno 320 also has a key new technology that could make Android games much smaller, Leland said. Some high-end Android games right now come with supplementary downloads that balloon the files to many hundreds of megabytes. Support for the ETC2 texture compression methodology, a potential industry standard, could make those supplementary files smaller, saving room on storage-limited devices, Leland said.

"Textures are a huge part of the total size of the game," he said.