Although released almost a year ago, Google’s then flagship smartphones, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL have definitely withstood the test of time. Both Pixel devices have made a name for themselves with regard to their camera and photography capabilities. Their successors, which will be available on the 19th of October are already following suit, racking up a portfolio of impressive portrait and landscape imagery. While it may seem that camera on the Google Pixel 2 is the best it can be, it might just be better.
Is the Pixel 2 about to get better?
According to a press release by Google, the company revealed that their latest flagships, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL incorporate an Octa-core chip apart from the standard SoC (system on a chip). This specifically designed chip will aid in photography processing. Called the Pixel Visual Core chip, this is the company’s first ever custom SoC.
What is the Pixel Visual Core and how fast is it?
Well, if what Google is saying is accurate, the new chip will run HDR+ 5x faster than normal. In addition, it will also use less than 1/10th the energy in comparison to running it via a standard application processor. But there’s a small catch. The Pixel Visual Core hasn’t been enabled yet. Now before you grab your pitchforks and torches, there’s a reason as to why Google did this.
The Pixel Visual Core can be enabled once the Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Preview is released. This update is said to arrive within the next few weeks. So once it’s released and available for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, you will have the choice to enable the Pixel Visual Core. Now to fully understand the role of the Pixel Visual Core, we must first understand what HDR+ is.
What exactly is HDR+?
HDR+ is a photography technology created by Google. This technology can be used to improve both low-light and shots with high dynamic range. According to Google, the Pixel Visual Core chip would expand the reach of HDR+. As such, it is supposedly capable of handling the most challenging imaging and machine learning applications. In addition, HDR+ would strike a fine balance between being fast at processing images and also be power efficient whilst doing so.
Who can use the Pixel Visual Core?
For now, the main use of the Pixel Visual Core is on HDR+. But according to Google, this is just the first step for the chip. They are already preparing a bunch of applications that would make use of this chip. We could possibly even see augmented reality capabilities being showcased here. Because the Pixel Visual Core would handle these processing needs, that would take the strain off the main chip, thus extending battery life as well. In addition, Google is planning to update the Android Camera API to give access to HDR+ for third-party developers as well. So if you use third-party camera apps, on your new Pixel 2, you can use harness the power of the Pixel Visual Core on these apps as well.
Sadly, the original Pixel owners get no love from Pixel Visual Core but on the other hand, if you’re looking for an upgrade, now would certainly be the time.