One of the major under the hood changes in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was GPU rendering. The feature was introduced by Google in Android 3.x Honeycomb, but since Honeycomb was never intended for phones, GPU rendering did not come to Android phones until Ice Cream Sandwich arrived.
So what exactly is GPU rendering? GPU rendering allows Android OS to use the GPU to render the UI instead of the CPU. Not only is the GPU more power efficient in rendering UI, it is also faster. Using the GPU to render the UI will also free up precious CPU cycles, which should improve the overall system performance. The lack of GPU rendering is one of the major reasons why some of the dual-core sporting Gingerbread based Android phones lag. It is also the reason why iOS and Windows Phone 7 have such a smooth navigation experience.
There are certain disadvantages of GPU rendering though, like GPU rendered apps taking more memory and a certain amount of RAM being reserved for the GPU. However, considering that nearly all the Android phones now come with >512MB to 1GB of RAM, this should not be such a big issue.
It should be pretty much obvious that Android OEMs should ship their phones with GPU rendering switched on for a smoother UI experience. However, it looks like HTC thinks otherwise. For some insane reason, HTC has disabled GPU rendering by default on the recently released HTC One X. There is no exact reason as to why the company has done this kind of stupidity. The company has enabled GPU rendering only for a few inbuilt apps, some Google apps and a few benchmarking apps. Readers can find the list of apps that have GPU rendering enabled by default on the One X here.
Thankfully, one developer over the HTC One X modding scene – mike1986. – has managed to find a workaround to this, and enable GPU rendering by default for every app. The bad news is that One X owners can only use this mod if they have unlocked the bootloader of their handset, rooted it and installed a custom recovery. If you already have done the above, then simply download and flash this zip file via your phone’s recovery.