GOOGLE HAS UNLEASHED the final preview build of Android 8.1 before it sees a full rollout in December.
While this isn't a huge update, Android 8.1 promises some notable updates including support for the Pixel 2's Visual Core.
At the launch of its flagship Pixel 2 and 2 XL smartphones, Google explained that it had integrated a new imaging chip into the handsets. However, it didn't have the software means to activate it at the time.
Now, thanks to the new preview build, developers can begin testing the Visual Core, which allows different camera apps to access Google's HDR+ technology quickly.
Visual Core is the first processor designed by Google for a consumer product, and it's aimed at speeding up camera operations for users.
Writing on the Android Developers Blog, VP of engineering Dave Burke said: "For Pixel 2 users, the Android 8.1 update on these devices enables Pixel Visual Core through a new developer option.
"Once enabled, apps using Android Camera API can capture HDR+ shots through Pixel Visual Core."
Overall, Android 8.1 will add "targeted" enhancements to the Oreo platform. There are optimizations for Android Go (which covers devices with 1GB or less of memory) and a new Neural Networks API to improve on-device machine intelligence.
"We've also included a few smaller enhancements to Oreo in response to user and developer feedback," added Burke.
"If you have a device enrolled in the Android Beta Program, you'll receive the update over the next few days. If you haven't enrolled yet, just visit the Android Beta site to enrol and get the update.
"At the official release in December we'll bring Android 8.1 to all supported Pixel and Nexus devices worldwide -- including Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P. Watch for announcements soon." µ
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