At SIGGRAPH today, the Khronos™ Group announced that the Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC) technology developed by ARM and AMD has been adopted as an official extension to both the OpenGL and OpenGL ES graphics APIs. As you can probably tell, ARM is really proud of what we have achieved with ASTC in leading the graphics industry. This is a major step forward in terms of image quality, reducing memory bandwidth and thus energy use.
In order to speed adoption in hardware, and get this into the hands of as many developers as fast as possible, the ASTC specification has been split into two profiles: LDR and Full. The smaller LDR Profile supports 2D low dynamic range images only. It is designed to be easy to integrate with existing hardware designs that already deal with compressed 2D images in other formats. The LDR Profile is a strict subset of the Full Profile, which also includes the 3D textures and high dynamic range support.
Khronos has voted to adopt the LDR Profile as an official extension for multiple Khronos APIs, earning it the coveted "KHR" prefix. The extension is called "KHR_texture_compression_astc_ldr", and it can be found in the official Khronos extension registry.
Interest in ASTC has been widespread, both among content developers and hardware implementers. By making it an officially-supported extension, Khronos has given it a huge vote of confidence and ensured that developers have a single consistent API for accessing the benefits of ASTC-compressed textures across a wide range of devices.
The new ARM MaliTM-T628 and Mali-T678 GPUs each implement both the LDR Profile and the Full Profile of ASTC, in anticipation of future standardization.
For the technical details on ASTC, please refer back to the previous blog posts by Tom Olson and me. You can also download the ASTC evaluation tool, which is a command line executable with source, for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, from the Mali Developer website.