The camera on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is the best in the business, and it’s just going to get better thanks to a trick Google had hidden from public view — a fully custom chipset that improves HDR+ functionality. That was supposed to be enabled in Android 8.1, but it seems that’s been pushed back to the second developer preview.

Android 8.1 developer preview 1 started rolling out to Pixel devices last week, and it adds a lot of useful little changes to those devices. However, it didn’t enable the Pixel Visual Core on Google’s latest smartphones like many expected.

As pointed out by ArsTechnica’s Ron Amadeo on Twitter, it seems Google will flip the switch on the Core in the second developer preview for Android 8.1, as confirmed on the Android Developers website.

Pixel Visual Core is Google’s first custom-designed co-processor for image processing and machine learning on consumer devices. If your app uses the camera APIs and you have a Pixel 2 device, you’ll be able try an early version of Pixel Visual Core starting in Developer Preview 2, planned for November 2017. Testing on Developer Preview 1 is not yet supported.

Google also confirms here that we’ll be getting the second Android 8.1 developer preview sometime this month. Once it does, developers will have access to the Core to further enhance their apps that make use of the Pixel’s camera.

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Ben Schoon

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