Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge were said to launch with Vulkan API support. Vulkan API support allows gamers to have life-like graphics in video games, bringing player actions, fights, and on-screen events to life. The Korean giant claimed in its Galaxy S7 announcement at Mobile World Congress back in February that Galaxy S7 Vulkan support would mean that the S7 and S7 edge would have “67% higher GPU performance” and “80% more efficient CPU,” optimizations that elicited the cheers and applause from hardcore gamers who could finally look on Android gaming with pride for the first time.
Samsung has now rolled out Galaxy S7 Vulkan support along with the August 2016 security patch, bringing the feature to its latest-generation devices. We presume that, once the Galaxy Note 7 battery cell issues are ironed out, the Note 7 will also receive Vulkan support as well.
Well, Samsung said that the Galaxy S7 Vulkan support was the first for smartphones, but there’s more to it than that. The folks over at XDA Developers said that Samsung claimed its S7 series was the first to get Vulkan but the claim is not technically true. Yes, Samsung promised Galaxy S7 Vulkan support but had “everything required for Vulkan other than the VK_KHR_swapchain extension,” but this does include the idea that the “everything…other than” refers to Vulkan support, does it not? And, when you consider that Google promised Chrome Custom Tabs for Google Chrome some 4 months (at the Android Marshmallow debut on the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X) before it actually rolled out the feature, it shows that companies often announce features before rolling out support for them, including Google. Samsung can’t exactly be blamed for having done this because Vulkan support was there — it’s just that the extension, the “switch” for Vulkan, wasn’t activated.
The Galaxy S7 Vulkan support process can be akin to the process of developing a car for the vehicle market: companies often build prototypes of vehicles, announce car names, and so on, before rolling them out for consumer purchase. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge surfaced in patents and leaks; are we to believe the phone names didn’t exist weeks before they were announced? It’s naive to assume that companies can only announce something the same day they roll it out to the public and that, if they don’t roll out the feature, then it doesn’t exist. Of course, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t like features to rollout the same day they’re announced; it’s just that you can’t get developers to take advantage of the Galaxy S7 Vulkan feature if they’re not aware that it exists. And when you don’t have developers onboard, you have to announce a feature to get their support before you can use the feature itself.
All this is to say that Samsung couldn’t have Galaxy S7 Vulkan support become a reality until announcing the feature and getting developers to take advantage of it. Now, Samsung didn’t release until this week, which means that the developers looking forward to it have been disappointed over the last 6 months. That is understandable; and yet, Samsung did deliver on its promise. Why then, would the site claim Samsung’s announcement was deceptive? Google announced Android Marshmallow back last September for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 but didn’t roll it out until October. Does that make Google deceptive because users had to wait a few weeks before getting Marshmallow on their devices? Did T-Mobile Nexus 6 customers feel hurt and deceived because they had to wait over six weeks for the Marshmallow update?
If the Galaxy S7 Vulkan support claim is deceptive as XDA claims it is, then Google’s Chrome Custom Tabs claim for Android Marshmallow was deceptive as well. So, it seems then, that any company that announces a feature before rolling it out is deceptive because it takes some weeks and months to prepare it. And yet, tech-savvy folks like XDA know better.