Here’s What’s New in the Latest Android 8.1 Developer Preview

10 New Android 8.1 Features

After releasing the first Android 8.1 Developer Preview earlier last month, Google has now seeded the second beta update to Pixel and Nexus device users. The search giant has also made system images of this developer build on its website, meaning it is an “almost final” build of the update, which is due to release next month. The latest Android 8.1 Developer Preview is bringing along a string of brand new APIs and improvements. Here’s everything new that’s been added to Android 8.1:

  • Optimizations for Android Go: The latest update has brought memory optimizations for Android Go, the underlying mechanism running on devices with 1GB or less RAM. It would no longer support certain Android listeners and is now updated with support for new hardware features.
  • Neural Networks API: Google has already ushered the era of machine learning and AI services on Android. But, it now wants 3rd-party developers to build apps which can utilize on-device neural networks to process their data. The Neural Networks API provides accelerated computation for on-device frameworks such as TensorFlow Lite, Caffe2, and others.
  • Accessing Wallpaper Colors: The latest Android 8.1 has improved colour picking mechanisms for currently applied wallpapers, thanks to the new API additions to wallpaper manager. It will grab the most representative colours from your wallpaper to adjust the system UI on the basis of the same.
  • Autofill Refinements: You won’t be able to notice many of these changes as they have been made to the service end but some front-end UI improvements are also in tow. The Autofill Save UI now allows you to add custom descriptions while showing you the card’s logo, last four digits and expiry date. This would make it easier for you to pick the right card while completing payments.

Pixel and Pixel 2-specific Improvements

  • Oboe Audio Library: The latest Android 8.1 beta enables developers to call the “A-audio Sharing Mode Exclusive” in some cases, providing reduced audio latency. A preview of the Oboe Library, which allows APIs to target A-audio in API 26+ devices to provide the best audio latency to users.
  • Accessing Pixel Visual Core: Google is now also allowing developers to access their custom imaging chipset on Pixel 2 devices. This will enable them to access HDR+ and improve the quality of images captured using their camera apps. This might come in handy for Instagram or Snapchat, who’d want creators to post high-res photos on their platform.

If you’re interested in being on the bleeding edge of Android 8.1 Oreo updates, you enrol in the Android Beta program and download the newest developer preview on your Nexus or Pixel device. Let us know your experience with the Android 8.1 beta in the comments down below.

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