Google Releases Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2 for Pixel and Nexus Devices; Enables Pixel Visual Core Imaging Chip on Pixel 2 Devices

Google has released the second and final Developer Preview of Android 8.1 Oreo, a minor update to the Developer Preview 1 released last month. Though there may not be significant changes included in this update, the biggest news is Google has finally enabled the Pixel Visual Core chip on Pixel 2 devices.

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The Android 8.1 DP2 is available for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P. Watch for announcements soon.

This preview update includes near-final Android 8.1 system images for Pixel and Nexus devices, with official APIs (API level 27), the latest optimizations and bug fixes, and the November 2017 security patch updates said Google in the blog post.

Developers can use the images for compatibility testing using new Android 8.1 features like Neural Networks API and others. The Neural Networks API provides better computation and inference for on-device machine learning frameworks.

Also, for Pixel 2 users, the Android 8.1 update on these devices enables Pixel Visual Core — Google’s first custom-designed co-processor for image processing and ML — through a new developer option. Once enabled, apps using Android Camera API can capture HDR+ shots through Pixel Visual Core.

Google also confirmed that the Android 8.1 Oreo consumer launch coming in December 2017, and even asking the developers to make use of the new APIs included in this update, and make their apps ready for the official roll out.

The factory images of the new Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2 are already available. If you have any eligible device, you can either manually flash the update, or you just enrol your device in Android Beta program to get the latest update. Do make a note that this is a developer preview and may have a lot of bugs. So, we suggest you not to install this update on your primary smartphone.

The Android 8.1 Oreo update is an incremental update to the Android 8.0 Oreo and brings in only minor changes. For the older Pixel users, this update is a massive one as it brings every Pixel 2 feature, and for Pixel 2 users, Google is enabling the Pixel Visual Core chip for even better image processing. For Nexus 5X and 6P, this update doesn’t bring any massive changes.

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