Google on Monday started rolling out Android 8. 1 Developer Preview 2 for compatible Pixel and Nexus devices. The final preview is available for the entire hardware range that received the original Android Oreo update previously this year, including Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL. Amongst other features, the new version allows the Pixel Visual Core coprocessor, which improves the image signal processing on the smartphone.
Following the launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL back October, Google revealed the smartphones featured a Pixel Visual Core chip that it had designed together with Intel. The new chip is particularly designed to improve the existing image-taking experience on the new Pixel handsets using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) attempts. Although the chip has existed on the Pixel 2 models since their arrival, the Mountain View, California-headquartered has finally enabled its experience through the new developer preview build.
Developers can leverage the presence of Pixel Visual Core to provide HDR+ shots on their apps, using the Google Android Camera API. This implies that third-party apps can deliver an experience close to the default camera application on the Pixel 2 models.
Besides the Pixel Visual Core advancement, the Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2 contains “near-final” Google android 8.1 system images for Pixel and Nexus devices along with official APIs (API level 27), latest optimizations and bug fixes, and the November 2017 security updates. There is also Neural Networks API that accelerates computation and inference for on-device machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow Lite and Caffe2 among others. Additionally, the new developer preview carries a Shared Memory API for lower-end hardware with 1GB or less RAM.
If you’ve already signed up for the Android Beta Program, you’ll soon receive an update notification to download the new preview via an over-the-air (OTA) package. However, you can also flash your Pixel or Nexus device manually by installing a compatible factory image. Factory images for all supported devices are available for download on Android Developers’ site.
In case you don’t want to install the developer preview, anticipating the public release of Google Android 8.1, you will have to wait for a couple of weeks. The official launch of the new Android version is due in December, Google says. It’ll include all the features of the 1st and second developer previews as well as enhancements such as an ‘SMS Connect’ for Chromebooks and a space-saving tweak.