Google Says Android 8.1 Oreo Arriving Soon, Will Enable Pixel Visual Core

Galaxy S8 owners may soon get the “dramatic” Portrait mode effect
     
     
       By Ida Torres

Galaxy S8 owners may soon get the “dramatic” Portrait mode effect By Ida Torres

Google says that using the Pixel Visual Core, the smartphone can process HDR+ photos five-times faster but with only a tenth of the battery drain when compared to the application processor, which third-party apps now use for imaging.

A custom eight-core Image Processing Unit (IPU) is sitting idle inside the new Google Pixel 2 phones, just waiting for Android 8.1 to wake it up.

Aside from enabling Pixel Visual Core on Pixel 2 phones, there's now no information on what other new features (if any) the update will bring along.

Google's HDR+ mode has been part of Google Camera for a few years, but the Google Pixel 2 refines that program by expanding processing power. In other words, the photos that are making rounds online don't showcase the real capability of the phone, and yet the handset managed to top DxOMark, followed by the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Google also sees an expanding future for the Pixel 2's chip, claiming that the Pixel Visual Core "will handle the most challenging imaging and machine learning applications" and "we're already preparing the next set of applications".

That means the Pixel Visual Core is an independent processor that focuses on images. To break this down, the Pixel Visual Core has a single Cortex A53 core CPU to "regulate traffic" and its own DDR4 RAM, along with a PCIe line that likely acts as a bus to the rest of the system. This will let more developers' applications to use Pixel 2's camera for taking HDR+ quality pictures.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL should start shipping today to those who pre-ordered.

Speaking of "hidden", the Pixel 2 XL also has a somewhat secret feature.

Technically released to the general public on August 21, Android 8.0 Oreo needed a little too much time to be widely distributed to eligible Nexus and Pixel devices in circulation.

From left: Photo taken on Pixel 2 with third-party app, compared to photo taken with PVC.

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