New Android 8.1 Developer Preview Released.
Google has released a new developer preview for Android 8.1, which is now available for the company's Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphones, as well as its older Nexus 6P and 5X phones. The new developer preview for Android 8.1 introduces some bug fixes and minor changes, and it also activates Google's Pixel Visual Core SoC that's in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
The latest developer preview for Android 8.1 fixes the audio issue on the Nexus 5X. When the first developer preview arrived last month, audio wouldn't play on the phone's speakers. This particular problem has now been resolved with the new developer preview, according to (https://9to5google.com/2017/11/27/everything-new-in-android-8-1-developer-preview-2-gallery/) 9To5Google.
The new developer preview for Android 8.1 also brings back the sRGB toggle in the Picture Color Mode for the original 2016 Pixel and Pixel XL phones. The first developer preview removed the option last month, possibly to match the Pixel 2's software.
With the displays on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL receiving some negative responses, Google has since added several color modes. Perhaps Google decided to bring back the sRGB color mode in the original Pixel phones to once again match the Pixel 2.
The most important thing about the new developer preview for Android 8.1 is that it activates Google's Pixel Visual Core chip that's found inside the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
The Pixel Visual Core is Google's first custom-designed System on Chip (SoC) that's completely separate from Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor.The Pixel Visual Core is dedicated to handling processing of images taken with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL's built-in camera app. It's most basic feature is that it speeds up the HDR+ process when users take photos.
"With eight Google-designed custom cores, each with 512 arithmetic logic units (ALUs), the IPU delivers raw performance of over 3 trillion operations per second on a mobile power budget. Using Pixel Visual Core, HDR+ can run 5x faster and at less than 1/10th the energy than running on the application processor (AP)," (http://ibtimes.com/pixel-2-camera-google-hides-first-image-processor-inside-new-xl-smartphones-2602540) Google said.
The Pixel Visual Core wasn't activated when Google began shipping the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The latest Android 8.1 developer preview turns it on and allows developers to see the difference in image processing speed.
Aside from delivering speed to the Pixel 2's built-in camera app, the activation of the Pixel Visual Core also means that third-party camera apps will be able to take advantage of its added processing power. Apps that use the Android Camera API will be able to use Google's HDR+ feature on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Simply put, other camera apps on the Pixel 2 phones will be able to take better photos that may be on par with the built-in camera app.
Right now, this is just a preview and is only available to developers and users who are signed up to Google's Beta program. Google hasn't given a specific release date for the final build of Android 8.1, but a public beta will arrive sometime in December, according to (https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/27/the-pixel-2s-dormant-visual-core-chip-gets-activated-in-the-latest-android-developer-preview/) TechCrunch.