Google rolls out Android 8.1 Developer Preview OTA, activates the Pixel Visual Core

Good news, Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2 is in the process of rolling out to eligible devices, among the changes is the activation of the previous dormant Pixel Visual Core chip on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL which should result in even better camera performance. Also included are the display changes first seen in the November Security patch for those running on the stable channel. 

The display changes for the Pixel 2 XL include the ability to further increase the panels saturation levels from Boosted to Saturated, allowing colors to pop on the previously muted screen. Basically, it’s for those that wanted a more Samsungized display. The Pixel Visual Core is a little more exciting in that it should result in faster performance and even better image quality, although Google has stated it’s an early release.

Update: As our reader, @travismayes, points out, you can enable the Pixel Visual Core by enabling Developer Mode by tapping on Build Number in About Phone/Settings seven times, and then enabling “Camera HAL HDR+” in the Developer Mode section. This will also enable the feature for any third-party apps that support the Pixel Visual Core.

The Developer Preview 2 is probably the last preview update before Google rolls out the final release before the end of 2017, so we have around 4-5 weeks to wait. The update is busy rolling out via OTA to the following devices:

If you haven’t received notification that the Developer Preview 2 OTA is available, you may just need to head over to Settings, System, System Update, and give the old Check for Update button a dab or two. On the Pixel 2 XL the OTA had a file size of just over 186MB, so you may want to be on a WiFi connection if the update is available. If you are the impatient sort, you can always head over to Google to download and flash the OTA manually.

Don’t forget, if you are on the stable channel, it’s easy enough to sign up for the Android Beta Program, after which you’ll soon receive notification of an update. It’s also important to remember that if you do sign up and want to return to the stable channel, the process will wipe your device. Let us know how you get on with the Developer Preview 2 OTA in the comments below.

Source: Google


About the Author: Peter Holden

He's been an Android fan ever since owning an HTC Hero, with the Dell Streak being his first phablet. He currently carries a Huawei P10 and a Galaxy Tab S2 8.0. When not immersed in the world of Android and gadgets, he's an avid sports fan, and like all South Africans, he loves a good Braai (BBQ).


  • http://www.dominic-martin.com/ Dominic Martin

    I’m personally not seeing a performance difference with image processing

    • Peter Holden

      Have just updated the article. Long story short, dig into Developer Mode and enable “Camera HAL HDR+”. You may notice more of a difference when taking Portrait shots, which should also be slightly quicker.