Google has released the first developer preview of Android 8.1, which includes improvements to several features, These include a new Neural Networks API for Android Go (device running memory: 1 GB or less) and speed up machine learning on devices. Local optimizations were also made based on feedback from Oreo users and developers. The official Android 8.1 release is expected in December.

Android 8.1 comes with the latest platform-wide optimizations, bug fixes and security patches, as well as some new features and new developer apis (API Level 27). Include:

  • Android Go Memory Optimizations and Support — Android 8.1 includes a number of memory optimizations for Android Go (1GB of running memory or less) Settings: We’ve added some hardware feature constants to help developers effectively split APK when distributing applications for common configuration or low memory Android 8.1 + devices.

  • Neural network API: As part of our plan to introduce machine learning to Android, we added the neural network API through the NDK. It made inference operation with hardware acceleration realized on equipment. We have designed a neural network API for a functional layer of machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow Lite, Google’s upcoming cross-platform machine learning framework for mobile devices, as well as other apis such as Caffe2. Stay tuned for TensorFlow Lite announcements.

  • Autofill Upgrade: We have been working hard to extend the Autofill framework and improve the experience of using key management and other Autofill services. In this update, we handled some requests from developers and added some features and apis. For example, Autofill has added flexibility in managing Save dialogs: support for customizing dialogs, managing text within dialogs, and deciding whether to display text through validators. Service also simplifies credit card expiration dates with setAutofillOptions.

  • Shared Memory API: This new API allows apps to allocate shared memory and access shared data faster. This API allows an App to create and map anonymous shared content and protect it. This API supports custom serialization (Parcelable) while being aiDL-friendly, and also opens up some useful functions such as removing write permissions.

To learn more about the new features, check out the Android 8.1 introduction page, which includes the difference report and the updated API reference:

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