Update: Google has now released the first Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview. The update is only available for developers and supports only the Pixel devices and the Nexus 5X/6P. Although it’s only a minor update, there are several new changes and improvements. Read all about them over here.
A lot of Android devices haven’t received the Android Oreo 8.0 update so far and here we are talking about Android 8.1. That’s how software updates work, and Google recently announced that the Pixel smartphones will soon be getting a developer preview of Android 8.1 MR1.
Alongside this announcement, Google also revealed a little secret about their new Pixel 2 smartphones. Apparently, the company has packed in another SoC that’s separate from the Snapdragon 835 chipset. This new chipset, called the Pixel Visual Core, is designed by Google and is meant just for the camera to provide faster HDR+ photos.
Google Pixel Visual Core SoC
Google said that the SoC hasn’t been turned on yet, but it will be enabled with the release of Android 8.1 developer preview beta. Developers will be able to use the Pixel Visual Core on their own apps to enable the HDR+ feature as well, but that will come later.
For now, with the release of Android 8.1 preview, Google wants developers to try out this new Image Processing Unit (IPU) that they have developed. Later on, more applications will be able to use the Pixel Visual SoC to take awesome HDR+ photos on the Pixel 2.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have already received the highest rating on DxOMark, but the best is yet to come. Samsung, Apple, and a few others already have their own co-processor that are built to take better photos. And now Google has one too, and it’s a beast.
The Pixel Visual Core SoC is an Image Processing Unit at its core, and that’s been developed from scratch. It has eight custom cores and can compute more than 3 trillion operations per second without using much power. Thanks to this SoC, the HDR+ works 5 times faster and is super efficient. It even has its own DDR4 RAM.
So that’s all about the brand new SoC present in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL that Google never told anyone about. Pretty cool, don’t you think? The company did not go into any details regarding other improvements and features in Android 8.1 Oreo. We have no idea what new changes this update will bring to the table.
Android 8.1 Release Date
Google has promised to deliver the first developer preview in the coming weeks. That is not an exact date, but we believe the company will provide more details very soon. The developer preview will only be available for the first gen Pixel devices and the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. These are yet to reach the market, but once they’re out, a software update will enable the Pixel Visual Core chipset on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL.
You can expect several bug fixes, performance improvements, and more from Android 8.1 when it’s finally available for the public. The final public version should be available in a few months time. Once again, the Pixel family will get it first, followed by other Android device manufacturers.