Google on Monday announced that it is expanding capabilities of Pixel 2's Visual Core image-processing chip to third-party apps on the latest Google flagship smartphones. Previously available only for the stock camera app with Android 8.1, Pixel Visual Core will now be available across third-party apps that make use of the Pixel 2 camera APIs. Google claims that Pixel Visual Core uses computational photography and machine learning to improve image quality in apps. The feature will be rolled out via the February monthly update.
Pixel Visual Core was revealed back in October last year with the launch of Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The chip has been designed in partnership with Intel, and is available on the Pixel 2 duo, though its access had so far been limited to the stock app. "Pixel Visual Core is built to do heavy-lifting image processing while using less power, which saves battery. That means we're able to use that additional computing power to improve the quality of your pictures by running the HDR+ algorithm,"Ofer Shacham, Engineering Manager for Pixel Visual Core, said in a blog post announcing the availability of Pixel Visual Core to third-party apps and detailing its advantages.
"Like the main Pixel camera, Pixel Visual Core also runs RAISR, which means zoomed-in shots look sharper and more detailed than ever before. Plus, it has Zero Shutter Lag to capture the frame right when you press the shutter, so you can time shots perfectly," Shacham added.
Back in December 2017, developers had received third-party access to the chip with the Android 8.1 update to prepare their apps for the forthcoming feature.
This isn't the first instance where Google has pushed updates for Pixel camera apps. In December last year, Augmented Reality (AR) stickers made their debut on the Pixel and Pixel 2 range. However, only Pixel phones running Android 8.1 and above are be able to view this feature on the stock camera app. Shacham added that more AR stickers "themed around winter sports, so you can dress up videos and photos with freestyle skiers, twirling ice skaters, hockey players" will be coming to the Pixel duo later this week.