Google began rolling out the Android 8.1 Oreo beta build late last week, however, shortly after the update's release, numerous Pixel and Pixel 2 owners who happen to participate in the beta program have reported that they were unable to apply the latest build due to an unknown issue resulting in a rollback to Android 8.0. Over the past few days, Google continued to collect feedback and bug reports on the matter, and the good news is that the issue has now been resolved.
According to Orrin – the Google Community Manager handing these bug reports – the issue leading to an unsuccessful installation have now been fixed and beta participants who have previously been reverted back to Android 8.0 following an unsuccessful installation process should now receive another notification for a new OTA release. Users should no longer have any difficulties in acquiring the beta build on their Pixel smartphones, however, that's not to say that the beta build itself will not have any issues, as the point of this early preview release is to find and iron out any possible flaws before a more widespread public release. Of course, those who wish to participate in testing the pre-release can only do so after enrolling in the Android Beta Program, and although there's also the alternative of acquiring the Developer Preview system image and manually flashing the device, this process does not guarantee OTA updates for future beta builds.
As for the Android 8.1 Oreo update itself, unsurprisingly the build represents incremental changes over version 8.0 Oreo and most improvements will take place under the hood. For starters, Android 8.1 will add a Neural Network API which will allow the company to utilize Neural Networks in additional areas of the OS, and the inclusion of a new Shared Memory API should also improve memory allocation, especially among smartphones with lower amounts of RAM including but not limited to upcoming devices in the Android Go category. As far as Pixel 2 owners are concerned, Android 8.1 Oreo represents a noteworthy improvement in photography beyond the already impressive capabilities, as the OS version will enable the Pixel Visual Core chip co-developed with Intel, designed to improve the smartphone's camera using machine learning.