Google has been hiding a big secret in the new Pixel 2: It created a custom chip to improve the camera but decided not to tell anyone.
Dubbed the Pixel Visual Core, the new chip is meant to improve HDR+ performance. It is an eight-core processor that will be “5x faster and [uses] less than 1/10th the energy” compared to the Pixel 2’s main GPU. An included ARM Cortex-A53 CPU will be responsible for power efficiency.
Interestingly, Google hasn’t even activated the chip’s capabilities yet. We suspect Google failed to complete optimization of the chip and opted to include the chip in a dormant status. Google will activate the chip in the coming months with Android Oreo 8.1 as a developer option preview.
The HDR+ functionality will eventually be available to third-party cameras as well.
It’ll be intriguing to compare the already impressive images from the Pixel 2 when the Pixel Visual Core is activated. If it performs as Google advertises, it’ll be scary good.