These are the best new features in the Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview

It seems like only yesterday we were enjoying our first real taste of Android Oreo, yet already Google is rolling out an updated version of its new mobile operating system. Here are the best new features in the Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview, along with its expected release date – and how you can download it today.

As you’d expect, Android 8.1 Oreo is an incremental update that builds out some of the new features found in the first version of Oreo.

The most exciting news is that Google has seemingly moved to enable its Pixel Visual Core image processing SoC, albeit discreetly.

The Android 8.1 dev preview is headlined by the addition of a new ‘Neural Networks API’ (NNAPI), which Google claims will “provide apps with hardware acceleration” for various smartphone operations.

While the Pixel Visual Core is still officially unactivated, it’s thought that the NNAPI will allow third-party developers to start building Pixel Visual Core functionality into their apps ahead of Android 8.1’s final release and ultimately allow for HDR+ shooting outside of Google’s native camera app.

Related: Android Oreo features

Just when will Android 8.1 Oreo be released, you ask?

Google’s timeline is still a bit hazy, but the company has revealed that the first stable build of version 8.1 will go live in December. Given that the final weeks of that month are a festive blur, we’d expect it to arrive in early-to-mid December for select devices.

Other changes in the Android 8.1 dev preview are largely aesthetic, with the Quick Settings panel, main Settings interface, and Power menu all getting slight visual tweaks.

More eye-catchingly, there’s a new Android Oreo Easter egg that sees the stock orange ‘O’ icon replaced with an actual Android-branded Oreo cookie. This can be accessed by tapping the Android version seven times in the ‘About phone’ section of your Settings.

Want to check out everything that’s new in Android 8.1 Oreo for yourself?

The dev preview is currently only available for the usual selection of Pixel devices, including the all-new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but anyone with compatible hardware can download it by following the instructions on Google’s Android developers site – you can either manually flash a system image to your device, or enable OTA preview updates.

Related: Best Android phones


What do you think of the new features in Android 8.1 Oreo? Tweet your first impressions to us @TrustedReviews.