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A dormant chip in the Pixel 2 will soon let developers write better camera and AI apps

A dormant chip in the Pixel 2 will soon let developers write better camera and AI apps
From TechCrunch - October 17, 2017

Heres a surprise: Googles Pixel 2 phones include a custom system-on-a-chip (SoC) thats optimized for image processingbut it currently just sits there, doing nothing.

Google says itll turn this chip on in the coming weeks as a developer option in the preview of Android Oreo 8.1. This will enable developers to include the same HDR+ image processing that allows Googles camera app to produce great pictures with hardware that is, at least on the spec sheet, not up to par with that of its competitors.

This custom system-on-a-chip (SoC) marks Googles first foray into custom chips in a consumer product. This chip, the Pixel Visual Core, features eight custom-designed image processing unit (IPU) cores and 512 arithmetic logic units. This allows the Pixels camera to shoot images that use the companys HDR+ algorithm for a wider color spectrum (by quickly taking and combining multiple images at different exposure levels) with none of the delay youd typically expect for HDR images. Google says that using the Pixel Visual Core speeds up HDR+ processing by 5x, all while using only a tenth of the energy of running that same algorithm on a regular CPU.

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