As Google teased during the unveil of the Pixel Visual Core, Android 8.1 will be released in the coming weeks for Pixel and Nexus devices. Google today launched the Android 8.1 Developer Preview, with images now available, as well as through the Android Beta Program.
Google has pegged two developer previews for Android 8.1. The first is already considered a beta with final APIs, while the second in November will be the near-final system images. A final release to AOSP and OEM ecosystem is slated for December.
Be sure to follow our live updating gallery of all the new features and interface changes.
Besides the Pixel Visual Core features for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, there are several new features in Android 8.1, which jump to API level 27. There is a new Neural networks API for hardware accelerating on-device machine learning.
Meanwhile, there are changes to notification behavior that limits apps to one notification alert sound per second. A new WallpaperColors API allows apps to manage wallpaper colors.
Under the hood, Programmatic Safe Browsing actions help detect when a WebView instance tries to navigate users to a URL that Safe Browsing has classified as a known threat and warns the user. Now, apps can determine whether to report the threat to Google, as well as have your app perform a particular action.
Aimed at Android Go, two new hardware-feature constraints will allow developers on Android 8.1 to better target their apps for low-RAM devices. A Shared memory API will allow them to “create, map, and manage anonymous shared memory that can be used by multiple processes or apps.”
The last changes include an update to the EditText method, a new video thumbnail extractor, and fingerprint updates that add new error codes.
There are also new developer features for Android Wear, with a new AmbientMode class that lets apps remain “visible in a low-power ambient mode for the duration of a session.” Specifically, Google has provided developers with a new method to do this. Meanwhile, there are several other updates relating to manifest metadata, action drawers, and more.
Those already enrolled in the Android Beta Program should receive an update notification shortly on their compatible Pixel or Nexus device.