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

Posted on October 25, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Dev with 3 Comments

Earlier today, Google released the first Android 8.1 Developer Preview. Now they’ve documented some of the new features we can expect in this release.

“Android 8.1 includes a set of targeted enhancements including optimizations for Android Go and a new Neural Networks API to accelerate on-device machine intelligence,” Google VP Dave Burke notes. “We’ve also included a few smaller enhancements to Oreo in response to user and developer feedback.”

Where’s what’s new in Android 8.1 for developers.

Pixel Visual Core access. Developers can write to Google’s first custom-designed co-processor for image processing and machine learning. It supports HDR+ in this initial release.

Android Go memory optimizations and targeting. Android 8.1 is optimized for Android Go configurations where there is 1 GB or less of memory.

Neural networks API. As part of an ongoing effort to bring machine intelligence to Android, Google is adding a Neural networks API for developers. This enables hardware-accelerated inference operations on supported devices and works as a foundational layer for ML frameworks like TensorFlow Lite, Google’s upcoming cross-platform ML framework for mobile.

Autofill enhancements. In Android 8.1, it’s easier for password managers and other Autofill services to use the Autofill framework.

Shared memory API. This new API lets apps allocate shared memory for faster access to common data.

Here’s one surprising bit: The Android 8.1 API bits are already final, so developers can already submit apps written to this OS version to the Play Store. Yes, Google recommends that developers only do so for beta testing with small groups at the moment. But if you wanted to, you could submit a production app update to the store now.

As noted, Google expects the final public version of Android 8.1 in December.

 

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