Android Oreo 8.1 is heading to the Pixel phone in the coming weeks, as confirmed by Google, bringing to the Pixel 2 phones, their self-engineered image co-processor, the Pixel Visual Core.
The Pixel Visual Core currently lies dormant in the Pixel 2 devices. It will operate independently of the Snapdragon 835 which is the heart of the devices. Google claims that this chip will increase image processing by 5x while using only 1/10th of the power as compared to the main CPU. This processor will be responsible for handling imaging and ML apps, along with power-efficient HDR+ processing.
Currently dormant, the co-processor will be available to be enabled as an option in the developer section in the upcoming developer preview of Android Oreo 8.1(MR1). When the stable build becomes available, the Pixel Visual Core will be enabled for the Android Camera API, allowing 3rd party applications to use the chip.
This stand-alone SoC for image processing means that the main CPU will suffer less load as compared to the usual smartphones during image processing as the Visual Core will handle most of it. This seems like a sound approach towards parallelizing the different functions of a smartphone. HOw it fares practically, only time will tell!