Google Android 8.1 Developer Preview is now available

The consumer launch will be available to all users in December.
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Google has launched Android 8.1 Developer Preview for select Pixel and Nexus devices. The system images for Android 8.1 Developer is available for the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P.

What's in Android 8.1?

Android 8.1 includes select new features and developer APIs (API level 27), along with the latest optimizations, bug fixes, and security patches.

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Users can test the beta build anytime by enrolling their eligible devices in automatic OTA system update via the Android Beta Program which will install 8.1. Once enrolled, your device will receive regular over-the-air (OTA) updates of all milestone builds in the Android 8.1 Developer Preview.

Alternatively, users can manually flash a system image . OTA updates are not provided automatically for devices that you flash manually, but you can enrol those devices in Android Beta Program to get OTA updates. When the next version of Android is released, you can download the final device image from the factory images page.

Here’s a list of some of the new APIs:

Android Go memory optimizations: Android 8.1 includes a set of memory optimizations for Android Go configurations aiming to help developers target devices with lower RAM through two new hardware features. Developers will be able to split their apps (APK) into two versions — one for normal and another for memory-constrained handsets.

Neural Networks API will enable hardware-accelerated inference operations on supported devices. However, Oreo 8.1 will now allow apps to make only one notification alert sound per second.

Autofill enhancements: The new beta version will also mark improvements to the system’s ‘autofill’ behaviour. For instance, custom descriptions will let developers mask credit card numbers, and only show the last four digits.

Memory sharing: A new shared memory API will also allow developers create, map, and manage anonymous shared memory that can be used by multiple processes or apps.

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Further, the tech giant has also made the Safe Browsing API seamless enabling Apps to detect WebView attempts which could navigate to known bad URLs. Developers can also customise how Apps can react to known threats. Additionally, the fingerprint reader on Android handsets will see new features as well. For instance, the new update will enable users to permanently lockout unknown users while attempting to unlock the device with an unregistered fingerprint.

As mentioned earlier, the Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Preview is presently available only for registered developers and Android beta testers. However, the consumer launch for Android 8.1 Oreo will be available to all users in December.