GOOGLE HAS UNLEASHED its first developer preview of Android 8.1 Oreo.
Android 8.1 Oreo's big talking point is Google's new Neural Networks API, which enables hardware-accelerated inference operations on supported devices.
It's likely that this API, designed for ML frameworks like TensorFlow Lite and Caffe2, will make use of the 'Pixel Visual Core', the Google-designed SoC inside the Pixel 2 that will bring HDR+ photography to third-party apps.
Android Go, the lightweight version of Google's OS, has also been given a boost in Android 8.1, with the update focusing on memory optimisations for devices running less than 1GB of RAM.
"We've added new hardware feature constants so you can now target the distribution of your apps and APK splits to normal or low-RAM devices running Android 8.1 and later," Google notes.
Elsewhere, Android 8.1 brings with it updates to autofill, with Google making it easier for password managers and similar services to use the Autofill framework, and a new shared memory API that lets apps allocate shared memory for faster access to common data.
The developer preview is currently compatible with the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL. It can also be downloaded and flashed to your device or loaded through the Android emulator.
The timeline for the final Android 8.1 release is shorter than usual as there will only be two preview releases. The second preview will be released in November and offer "near-final system images for final testing," with the final release to follow during or after December.
Google also this week launched Android Studio 3.0, the newest version of its integrated development environment (IDE) that brings features including app profiling tools to quickly diagnose performance issues, support for the Kotlin programming language, and support for both Android Things and Instant Apps
The new version of Android Studio for Windows, Mac, and Linux can be downloaded directly from developer.android.com/studio, and current users can update to the latest version in the navigation menu. µ
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