Over on the Imagination Technologies stand at Mobile World Congress, we got to see a demonstration of performance improvement in the quality of 3D games that will be enabled by the increasingly widespread adoption of 3D hardware in phones.
On the right is a Nokia N81 which doesn't have 3D hardware and so is running the 3D graphics on its CPU (i.e. running in software), while the left is a Nokia N95 which has proper 3D hardware acceleration.
As you might be able to hear from the discussion, we reckoned the difference in speed between the two is roughly 50 times (i.e. around one frame per second for the N81 to around 60 fps for the N95). Both phones are running the same piece of demo software. See for yourself below:
Of course, there is an argument that these sorts of demos are designed to highlight the benefits of 3D – Imagination makes its cash selling its designs for 3D chips – but nevertheless it makes for an obvious showcase of some of the benefits of integrating 3D hardware into phones. And not only for games but also for quicker and more detailed user interfaces, too.
Still, we'd love to see a similar comparison with versions of the same game. Nokia's beat-'em-up One would be a good example as it's rumoured it'll be released in both 2D and 3D hardware accelerated versions.
And the fun won't stop here either. Imagination's latest 3D technology (which has been integrated into Texas Instruments' OMAP3 platform) will, according to the company, double 3D performance.