No Vulkan support for the Nexus 9, Android engineer confirms

Back in November 2015, Google announced that future versions of Android would employ the Vulkan graphics API. This got many people excited – and for good reasons – since Vulkan promises to substantially increase the graphical capabilities of mobile devices.

Strangely enough, the Nexus 9 won’t be receiving the graphics driver update needed for Vulkan support. This information was confirmed by a Google rep during a recent Android Nougat AMA on the /r/AndroidDev subreddit, where one user asked whether support would come to the tablet with the final release of Android 7.0 Nougat.

Since the fifth and final developer preview of Android N was pushed to the Nexus 9 without introducing support for Vulkan – or OpenGL ES3.2 for that matter – owners of the tablet were left in the dark as to whether their devices would eventually get the “next-gen” graphics treatment. Well, now they know.

During the AMA, redditor zxcvbad also stated that he got in touch with an Nvidia rep, who reportedly confirmed that the Nexus 9 drivers were ready on Nvidia’s end. You can read the entire post here. Despite this, Android engineer Anwar Ghuloum had a short and disappointing answer to zxcvbad’s query:

“Anwar: N9 will not be getting Vulkan drivers, but Pixel C has had them since the second N Developer Preview.”

It’s a weird decision, to say the least, especially since the Nexus 9’s hardware is more than capable for the task at hand, and that the Nexus 5X and 6P got support for Vulkan a long time ago.

source: Reddit via XDA Developers