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Jelly Bean, Renderscript, and Deprecation

If you peek through the release notes for Jelly Bean, you will notice the following statement:

Note: The experimental Renderscript graphics engine is now deprecated.

And, if you look at the package summary for Renderscript, you will see a variety of classes are marked as deprecated.

After a minor dustup on the Android Developers Google Group, we did get some clarification.

Basically, Renderscript has long been broken down into two halves: the graphics engine and the compute engine. Initially, the graphics engine is what got all the attention. However, as Dave Burke indicated:

The feedback we got from internal and external app developers was that they preferred to use OpenGL directly because of familiarity & portability either through our Java bindings or NDK.

As such, the graphics portion of Renderscript is deprecated, meaning that it still works, and they will try to maintain it going forward, but you should consider alternatives. And, given the nature of Renderscript, I would find it to be more likely than average to be completely discontinued in some future release due to technical limitations.

Note that the compute engine in Renderscript is still going strong, to allow implementation of faster algorithms without having to go through the NDK.

The Busy Coder’s Guide to Android Development: the most Android knowledge allowed by law! :-)