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Pixel 2 Visual Core finally gets enabled with latest update

The Pixel 2 Visual Core custom designed by Google and Intel. (Source: Google)
The Pixel 2 Visual Core custom designed by Google and Intel. (Source: Google)
An update for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL rolling out now finally enables the Pixel 2 Visual Core that has remained dormant since launch. The activation should reduce the load on the CPU, while also helping to boost processing performance and reduce battery consumption simultaneously.

Google is finally rolling out an update to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL owners that will activate a previously dormant piece of silicon embedded on its Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. Custom-designed by Google with the help of Intel, the Pixel 2 Visual Core uses machine learning algorithms to accelerate HDR+ image processing. Although HDR+ has previously been enabled on the Pixel 2s using the CPU, the new approach offloads the processing to the Visual Core.

Google, like Samsung and Huawei, have been looking on enviously in recent years as Apple delivered features that were only possible on an iPhone thanks to its custom Apple A-series chips and other processing units. The Pixel 2 Visual Core marks the first step Google has taken to create its own silicon to gain a competitive advantage. Both Samsung and Huawei have also taken steps in this direction with their custom ARM-based Exynos and Kirin chips, respectively.

In addition to offloading processing tasks from the Snapdragon CPU, the Pixel 2 Visual Core also uses much less power to run the HDR+ algorithms, which should help with both multitasking and battery life. Another update to Pixel 2 owners coming this month will also add AR sticker with a winter theme in time for the Winter Olympics.

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HDR+ off and with HDR+ enabled on Pixel 2 Visual Core
HDR+ off and with HDR+ enabled on Pixel 2 Visual Core

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 02 > Pixel 2 Visual Core finally gets enabled with latest update
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2018-02- 6 (Update: 2018-02- 6)
Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - News Editor
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have grown to enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture out now on Spotify.