Google today released its first Developer Preview of Android 8.1 Oreo for app developers, testers, and early adopters. While the release candidate number might signal a minor change, there’s quite a bit of important stuff happening when you look deeper.
Here’s what Google highlights as part of the new release (API level 27):
- 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.
As is the case with other Developer Previews, this Android 8.1 Oreo build is available to registered developers and Android beta testers. For those of you who want to install the system image on your device manually, Google has offered up releases for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Pixel 2, and Pixel XL 2.
A stable and formal version of this build should reach the aforementioned devices in the near future.