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Developing Android Applications with Adobe AIR by Véronique Brossier

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Chapter 14. Hardware Acceleration

In this new wave of technology, you can’t do it all yourself, you have to form alliances.

Carlos Slim Helu

We tend to forget that the content on our device’s display—the high-definition video, the complex animation moving across the screen, the panels that we touch to drag around—none of it is real. We are looking at pixels being updated at a very fast rate to keep us engaged and fooled. It works.

Hardware accelerators use dedicated hardware to perform tasks faster than they would be done in software. They are used to accelerate both video and graphics, to draw changing content on the screen.

This performance technique is relatively new to Flash. NVIDIA, which specializes in the development of GPUs, and Adobe teamed up in 2009 to enable the Flash platform to leverage GPUs on the desktop as well as on smartphones and tablets. The adoption has been easier on mobile devices because each model uses one predictable driver, whereas the desktop has a multitude of scenarios.

In this chapter, we will discuss some of this technology and see how it can best be used for our applications.

Some Definitions

Let’s go over some terms that are often used but rarely explained.

The CPU (central processing unit) carries out instructions on a computer program. The clock rate on mobile devices varies from 550 MHz to 1.5 GHz.

The GPU (graphics processing unit) is a high-performance microprocessor dedicated to manipulating computer graphics. It performs geometric calculations faster ...

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