Mobility

The 4 most important updates in the Android 8.1 developer preview

Google's developer preview of Android Oreo 8.1 contains new initiatives in machine learning, memory optimization, autofill, and more.

Google released the developer preview of Android 8.1 Wednesday, with updates allowing developers to better target their apps for memory optimization and better leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like machine learning, according to a developer blog post.

Like all developer previews, this recent release from Google aims to help developers get their apps ready to work with the full version of Android 8.1 According to the post, the general release of the OS update is expected in December 2017.

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Along with the standard patches and bug fixes one might find with a new release, the Android 8.1 developer preview also contains new developer tools and APIs as well. Here are four of those features that were highlighted in the blog post.

1. Android Go memory optimizations and targeting

Android Go is Google's program geared toward building budget Android phones for developing markets. Being that some Android Go devices have 1GB or less of memory, the Android 8.1 developer preview will allow developers to optimize their apps to run on low-RAM devices devices such as these, the post said.

2. Neural Networks API

Developers can leverage the new Neural Networks API to take advantage of machine learning features on Android devices, the post said. The API is available through the Android NDK and will enable "hardware-accelerated inference operations on supported devices," the post said. The Neural Networks API will serve as a foundation for machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow Lite and others.

3. Autofill enhancements

With the Android 8.1 developer preview, it will be easier for certain apps to use the Autofill framework. This includes customization of the UI involved with autofill, the post said.

4. Shared memory API

The shared memory API will let apps "allocate shared memory for faster access to common data," the post said. The API offers protection control management and the ability for apps to map anonymous shared memory as well.

To get the Android 8.1 developer preview, users must first sign up for the beta program here. Once the device is enrolled, users can simply download their app from the Google Play store and begin testing it in the new OS update, the post said.

More information can be found on the Android Developers Blog and the Android 8.1 for Developers page.

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Image: CNET

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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