The second developer preview of Android 8.1 Oreo is now hitting Google's Pixel and Pixel 2-series smartphones in the form of an over-the-air download. The first OTA packages already started landing on some Pixel 2 XL units on Monday, shortly after factory images and OTA files of the new firmware were launched by Google, but Android Headlines only managed to confirm the phones still running the stable version of Android 8.0 Oreo were among those encompassed by the first wave of upgrades. Some owners of the Pixel devices had to wait for the second developer preview of Android 8.1 because they already had the security patch for the month of November installed, whereas those running the October one got the November update bundled alongside the first developer preview of Android 8.1.
This convoluted upgrade process is now being streamlined with the new experimental build of Google's upcoming operating system build as Android beta testers who still haven't received an actual 8.1 developer preview are seemingly being prioritized with the DP2 update, whereas those running DP1 began receiving OTA notifications on Friday morning PST. The latter case has been confirmed for the original Pixel devices and presumably also encompasses their successors which Google released this fall. Likewise, the Pixel C tablet, all Nexus-branded smartphones, and the Nexus Player should follow the same update pattern. Following the installation of Android 8.1 Oreo DP2, you'll finally have the option of enabling the Pixel Visual Core, Google's custom system-on-chip designed for energy-efficient image processing. If you rely on one or more third-party camera apps that utilize the Android Camera API, activating the Pixel Visual Core should translate to HDR+ support and general performance improvements for your mobile services of choice, albeit the change may not be significant and depends on the exact use cases and apps.
The Mountain View, California-based tech giant said Android 8.1 Oreo DP2 contains near-final system images and finalized app behaviors, suggesting that developers should now have everything they need to optimize their products for the upcoming stable release of the OS which is expected in the coming weeks. Google hasn't attached a specific release date to the official launch, having only said it's planning to start rolling out the final Android 8.1 Oreo build in late December.