Android 8.0 might have just launched in August, but Google is already working on its next big update. The company today announced a developer preview for Android 8.1, with a final release due sometime around December.
So far, it doesn’t seem like there are too many useful features in 8.1 for the average user. This preview includes a few changes for developers, such as hardware acceleration for on-device machine learning, new memory management features, and improvements to autofill. It’s not clear if the biggest update we know is coming with 8.1 – activating the Pixel 2’s secret image processing chip – is live in this preview, as it’s not explicitly stated in the related documentation. We’ve contacted Google for more information and will update if we hear back.
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Many of us assumed Google would launch Android 8.1 with the Pixel 2 series – much like 7.1 last year – but this time it decided to hold off for a while. Though we don’t recommend trying it unless you’re a developer, you can give it a go by enrolling your device in the Android Beta Program if you have a compatible device. Keep in mind that if you need to unenroll from the beta, you’ll have to wipe your device.