Google unveils own image processor for Pixel 2 smartphone

Galaxy S8 owners may soon get the “dramatic” Portrait mode effect

Galaxy S8 owners may soon get the “dramatic” Portrait mode effect

The flagship devices received the highest DxOMark rating surpassing Apple iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 cameras and it is all possible because of the Google's image processing unit called Pixel Visual Core.

As part of those details, the company confirmed the Android 8.1 Oreo update - specifically, the developer preview (MR1) - will be rolled out "in the coming weeks". "A custom Google-made compiler optimizes the code for the underlying hardware".

The to-be enabled eight-core chip will enhance Google's photo apps and eventually will allow third-party photography apps to take HDR+ quality images. Needless to say, Pixel phones (both first and second gen) will be the first ones to get it. The Pixel camera is already a whiz in terms of HDR shot processing, so fans will enjoy the prospect of a further speed increase.

The Pixel Visual Core is an octa-core Image Processing Unit (IPU) created to run HDR+, a feature on Google phones to enhance low-light photos, faster and at lower energy. It is said to consume a tenth of the energy consumed by the SD835 while being 5X faster.

We expect Android updates to improve the software of our devices, but if you have a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL then Android 8.1 will actually improve the hardware. "Later, we'll enable it for all third-party apps using the Android Camera API, giving them access to the Pixel 2's HDR+ technology", said the executives.

"A key ingredient to the IPU's efficiency is the tight coupling of hardware and software-our software controls many more details of the hardware than in a typical processor", Google explains.

Pixel Visual Core, the search giant's first custom-designed co-processor, is built in to every Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 smartphones.

Google logo on Zurich office building.

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