Do you know what the Neural Networks API is? If you don’t, it’s fine, it’s one of those surprisingly complex things that makes a lot of different parts of Android better without ever being very visible to the end user. Long story short: it allows developers to apply some of the extremely complicated parts of neural network processing to local Android hardware, getting a boost in performance in the background. And starting soon, it’ll benefit from the same kind of regular driver updates that Qualcomm has been using for its GPU driver updates.
Qualcomm and Google have announced that updates to the Neural Networks API will be rolling out in updates to Google Play Services. That’s a big deal, because you won’t have to wait for a new phone (or a full phone software update) in order to benefit from the latest improvements to the system. Qualcomm mentions Google Assistant and Google Maps as examples of apps that can become “better, smarter, and more intuitive” as a result of these updates.
Independent developers who call on the NNAPI can be sure that the vast majority of recent Android phones (or at least those that use Snapdragon hardware) will be running the latest version. Unfortunately Qualcomm didn’t give a precise time for these rollouts, beyond “later this year.”