Video: OpenCL mod for Kindle Fire HD shows untapped potential

Posted by Shane McGlaun

One might reasonably think that manufacturers would take advantage of every last ounce of performance when it comes to tablets.  

Unfortunately, this isn't always the case, as certain companies have been known to engage in all sorts of software locks to limit hardware performance, often for reasons such as preserving battery life. 

Interestingly, a new OpenCL prototype mod was recently showcased for the Kindle Fire HD, proving that the tablet is capable of more graphics muscle than initially believed. 

The new mod has proven that both the 8.9-inch and 7-inch versions of the tablet are equipped with a graphics engine that can handle OpenCL acceleration. The best news about this OpenCL prototype system? Amazon is actually working with Imagination Technologies to bring acceleration features to the tablet.

OpenCL is capable of significantly improving frame rates, as well as reducing power consumption. Indeed, OpenCL is said to bolster frame rates as much as 50%, all while decreasing power consumption by as much as half.

The programming language is able to achieve such high frame rate optimization and savings in battery life by offloading some the computational work from the processor to the underutilized and significantly parallel GPU.

For now, Amazon has no immediate plans to implement OpenCL on the Fire HD. Some reports indicate that one of the biggest holdbacks is Amazon's fear of giving developers too much access to the GPU hardware, leading to a higher chance of bricked devices.