May 26 AT 3:48 PM Anthony Domanico 22 Comments

Modders at XDA hard at work to bring Tegra-only games to non-Tegra devices

One of the biggest gripes we’ve heard with the recent onslaught of Tegra 2-only games is the fact that they’re Tegra-only. If you don’t own one of the shiny new dual-core Tegra devices, you simply can’t play these new games.

Our readers (and some staffers) have lamented that this type of fragmentation is the worst kind to plague the Android platform. Rather than having applications restricted to version types (a problem Google is attempting to remedy with the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich version update), the new wave of fragmentation will render an application unusable unless your phone has the correct chipset.

It seems the folks over at XDA feel the same way, as they’re already hard at work on a fix for the modding community. XDA member Chainfire has built Chainfire3D, an intermediary OpenGL driver that “sits between your applications and graphics drivers, and can intercept and/or change commands between the two.”

Perusing the comments on the Chainfire3D thread shows that they have some Tegra-only games working on the Samsung Galaxy S2, and it’s only a matter of time before they find a way to offer full support for non-Tegra devices. You can head over to XDA to read all about this work in these three threads:

  1. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1087427
  2. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1068567
  3. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1090032

The very fact that people are working hard on this issue only does more to bring the issue to the forefront. With the proliferation of Tegra-only games and the device-selective release of the long-awaited Netflix application, it seems this chipset-based app fragmentation isn’t going away anytime soon, and highlights the growing sense of competition coming to the Android platform. With Amazon trying to score exclusive applications away from Google’s Android Market, and chipset manufacturers trying to do the same thing to differentiate their chips to both customers and cell manufacturers, the Android platform is increasingly becoming a battleground, and I fear that customers are the ones who are going to lose out in the end.

As is customary with our posts, we want to know what you think.

  1. Is this chipset-based fragmentation bad for Android, or is it necessary to deliver the top quality of games?
  2. Does the featured applications on a certain type of chipset influence your device purchases?
  3. Are you going to brave the XDA forums and try out Chainfire3d?

Answer these (and more) questions in the comments below.

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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