Nov 27th, 2017

We’re still working on last week’s leftovers but for Google, it’s back to business. The latest version of the Android Beta — Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2 — has officially hit the ground running and while there is sure to be a handful of smaller, under-the-hood changes, the biggest news here is that it enables the much hyped Pixel 2 and 2 XL’s dormant Pixel Visual Core.

Google said the hardware feature is still in its early stages, so don’t go expecting much. At the very least we should see faster photo performance, with the possibility of less battery strain while using the camera, and maybe even improved photo quality? We’ll see. Here’s the snippet from Google’s release notes:

“Pixel Visual Core is Google’s first custom-designed co-processor for image processing and machine learning on consumer devices. If your app uses the camera APIs and you have a Pixel 2 device, you’ll be able try an early version of Pixel Visual Core starting in Developer Preview 2, planned for November 2017. Testing on Developer Preview 1 is not yet supported.”

Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2 is available right now for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C, and the Nexus Player. If you haven’t yet, you can enroll your device by clicking the button below.

Android Beta Program