Google has this morning announced the Android 8.1 Developer Preview for supported Nexus and Pixel devices.
The update concentrates on optimizations for Android Go (for devices with 1GB or less of memory) and a new Neural Networks API to accelerate on-device machine intelligence. Dave Burke, VP Engineering for Android said that Android 8.1 moves the API level to 27, bringing some new APIs for developers to play around with including:
- Android Go memory optimizations and targeting — Android
8.1 includes a set of memory optimizations for Android
Go configurations (1GB or less of memory). We’ve added new
hardware feature constants so you can now target the distribution of your
apps and APK splits to normal or low-RAM devices running Android 8.1 and later.
- Neural Networks API — as part of our efforts to bring
machine intelligence to Android, we’ve added a Neural
Networks API via the NDK. It enables hardware-accelerated inference
operations on supported devices. We designed the Neural Networks API as a
foundational layer for ML frameworks like TensorFlow Lite — Google’s upcoming
cross-platform ML framework for mobile — as well as Caffe2 and others. Stay
tuned for TensorFlow Lite announcements.
- Autofill enhancements — we’ve made it easier for password
managers and other Autofill services to use the Autofill
framework. For example, we’ve added support for more UI customization of the
Save dialog, as well as setAutofillOptions()
for users to set credit card expiration using a spinner.
- Shared memory API — this new API lets apps allocate
shared memory for faster access to common data. Apps can map anonymous shared
memory and manage protection controls using the SharedMemory
API. The API is parcelable, AIDL friendly, and exposes useful features like
removing write permissions.
The Android 8.1 Developer Preview will be available for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices, as well as for Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P – and if you’re a developer, in the Android Emulator. Anyone interested can sign up for the Beta at android.com/beta. Once enrolled, the Beta update to 8.1 can take up to 24 hours to appear or if you just have to have it right now, you can grab a flashable ROM from developer.android.com/preview/download.
Note:Prithi Anand on the Android Beta Program Google+ community has noted that the Beta Program OTA files won’t be pushed until tomorrow, saying:
We will start the rollout of OTAs tomorrow (Build: OPM1.170921.003). All currently enrolled Beta devices will receive an OTA update notification automatically.