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Google releases Android 8.1 Oreo for Pixel, Nexus devices

Google's new version of Android is now available to Pixel and Nexus device owners, with more devices promised to support the update soon.
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Written by Jake Smith, Contributing Writer on
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(Image: file photo)

Google on Tuesday began rolling out the final version of Android 8.1 to Pixel and Nexus device owners, bringing minor updates to the Oreo platform. Google said more devices will receive the update soon.

Android 8.1, which has been available in beta testing for a month, includes the Neural Networks API that allows the new Pixel 2 to take advantage of the "Pixel Visual Core" SOC. It enhances Google's photo apps to run faster and will allow third-party photography apps to take HDR+ quality images.

Other new Android 8.1 features include:

  • Android Go memory optimizations and targeting: Includes a set of memory optimizations for Android Go configurations (1GB or less of memory). OEMs will now be able to cater a version of Android to low-end smartphones. Google released a lot more details surrounding Android Go on Tuesday.
  • Neural Networks API: Enables hardware-accelerated inference operations on supported devices. Google designed the Neural Networks API as a foundational layer for ML frameworks like TensorFlow Lite, Caffe2, and others.
  • Autofill enhancements: Google claims it's made it easier for password managers and other Autofill services to use the Autofill framework.
  • Shared memory API: A new API that enables apps to allocate shared memory for faster access to common data.
  • Screen burn-in mitigation.
  • Emoji fixes.

Android 8.1 is rolling out now to all Pixel phones, as well as the Pixel C tablet, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P. You can update over-the-air through Android or via flashing a system image. If you're not seeing the update yet, sit tight. Google says the update is rolling out over the next week.

As for other devices, Google said Tuesday that it's working with "device maker partners to bring Android 8.1 to more devices, including Android Oreo (Go edition) devices, in the months ahead."

Closer look at Google's Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL (pictures)

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