Just after 2 months of launch of Android 8.0 Oreo, Google is ready to bring in the next version of Android 8.0 Oreo. Google wants to bring the final version for consumers by the end of the year 2017 (you can see timeline provided by Google in the following pic). Android 8.1 developer preview released yesterday is the first phase of this timeline and by the year end we might see, if everything goes according to Google’s plans, a final version of Android 8.1 Oreo.
Latest version of Android is just a polished version of Android 8.0. It is supposed to mend issues surfaced in Android 8.0. This version won’t have radical changes in UI as, it seems, Android UI has reached to point of stability after Android 6.0 Marshmallow. However, the main talking point of this new version is “Neural Network API” (NNAPI). It will provide an opportunity for apps with hardware acceleration for on-device machine learning operations, says Google.
This beta version is exclusive for Google devices as of now. Right now, Android 8.1 developer preview can be installed on all Pixel (the Pixel & Pixel XL and the Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL) devices as well as Pixel C tablet and the two Nexus devices – Nexus 6P & Nexus 5X.
To download and get started with Android 8.1 Developer preview, you first need to enroll into Google’s Android Beta Program. After that you will receive and Over-the-air (OTA) notification about the availability of the new version. Download and install the latest version and you are good to go!
Just a warning though, this is a beta version, and thus, it will have some minor bugs or issues. It might damage your phone (though chances are very slim). Therefore proceed with caution. You can disenroll from the Android Beta Program. Doing so will bring you back to the latest version of Android your device supports.