The wait is over for Pixel and Nexus owners as Android 8.1 Oreo is rolling out. But what about the hype? Well there is none. But that’s ok. It’s really just a minor maintenance release. Google says the biggest feature in 8.1 is a new “Neural Networks API” which is designed for running machine-learning operations on mobile devices. Any phones with specialized machine-learning hardware can accelerate this API, while older devices can use a CPU fallback mode. In short, the Neural Networks API will likely allow the new Pixel 2 to take advantage of the “Pixel Visual Core” SOC that isn’t enabled yet. It will enhance Google’s photo apps and eventually will allow third-party photography apps to take HDR+ quality images.
Android 8.1 also marks the release of “Android Go” for OEMs. Google’s “Go” initiative strips down the Android OS and many of the Google apps to run better on low-end devices with 1GB of RAM or less. Google is chasing “the next billion users” with this move, a reference to the 3.5 billion people in the developing world that will access the Internet for the first time from a low-end smartphone.
Burn-in on the screen
Google is also adding some burn-in mitigation to the system bar. The always-on bar will turn to an inverted black-on-white color scheme in some apps like the system settings and Google Maps. The idea is that changing up the color scheme will reduce burn-in for this always-on UI component. The system buttons also dim after a second or two of idleness.
Th fun and the obvious of Oreo 8.1
The first thing you’ll notice is the home screen. Im still getting used to it but the Google search is now at the bottom, the weather and date are combined, and the folders display differently.
New look for App folders
And of course “CheesburgerGate”
You get the new cheeseburger, beer, and cheese emojis in Android 8.1. Google’s weird cheese-on-the-bottom hamburger went viral in October. First-world problems 😉