Google only turns on Pixel Visual Core in second developer preview Android 8.1

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The Visual Core soc in the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is not yet activated in the first test version of Android 8.1, which was released last week. That was discovered by developers. Google now says it will activate the soc in the next version.

When announcing the Visual Core soc, Google said it would be activated in the developer preview of Android 8.1, but that doesn’t appear to be the case in the first preview. Google has now also adjusted its documentation and reports that the soc for processing images can be used from the second Android 8.1 developer preview.

Xda Developers wrote last weekend that the necessary developer option for enabling the Pixel Visual Core on the Pixel 2 smartphones was missing from the menus. It’s not clear why Google hasn’t made the feature available yet, although it was announced.

Google says the second developer preview of Android 8.1 will be released sometime in November. Exactly when that will be is not yet clear. The Pixel Visual Core has a single Cortex A53 core as well as eight cores specifically made for image processing.

The Visual Core is used to process the HDR+ images and, according to Google, that is much faster with the custom chip than when done by the Snapdragon 835-soc. If developers get access to the Visual Core soc, they too can create camera apps that include HDR+ functionality.

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