Pixel 2 Phones Enrolled In Android Beta Get Stable 8.1 Update

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Owners of the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL enrolled in the Android Beta program are now also receiving the stable version of Android 8.1 Oreo, being upgraded from the second developer preview of the operating system. As expected, the over-the-air (OTA) software package is relatively minor, weighing just under 43MB for the Pixel 2 XL and approximately 41MB for the smaller Pixel 2, so the installation procedure shouldn't take long. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant is distributing the new firmware in stages like it usually does, with the rollout being expected to be completed early next week.

Google already released system images and OTA files for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL owners seeking to flash the update manually, with the newly launched software being just a more convenient method of upgrading the devices for people who preferred to remain patient. Units running the stable version of Android 8.0 Oreo started receiving the same update earlier this month, with the gap between the latest experimental build of the OS and its stable rollout being only a few days long, which is surprisingly short compared to Google's established software release practices. The jump to Android 8.1 Oreo debuts some performance improvements and minor user-facing tweaks, with one of the most notable additions being the option of enabling the Pixel Visual Core, a custom chip co-developed by Google and Intel which was designed for efficient image processing and bringing the HDR+ capabilities of the company's default Camera app to third-party services. The effects of the Pixel Visual Core vary based on your imaging apps of choice, with the silicon only being available to tools that take advantage of the Android Camera API, though the majority of popular camera apps already do so.

The Oreo iteration of Android is expected to receive some additional incremental revisions in the coming months but no major changes are expected until Android P which is rumored to have the version number 9.0 attached to it. Google traditionally debuts first developer previews of its main OS revisions in spring and has most recently done so in late March, though it remains to be seen whether the company sticks with that schedule going forward or launches the first experimental build of Android P closer to Google I/O 2018 which is likely taking place in May.

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