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Google just unveiled its first custom smartphone chip that helps you take better pictures

Key Points
  • Google has a new Pixel Visual Core processor that improves mobile photography.
  • The chip is in its new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones.
  • Developers will be able to create new apps that use the chip, too.
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unveiled its first custom-designed smartphone chip on Tuesday, the Pixel Visual Core, which is used in its new smartphones.

The Pixel Visual Core enables smartphones to take better pictures using HDR+, a technology that can take clear pictures even if there's a lot of brightness and darkness in the same shot.

One example might be taking a picture of a shadowy skyscraper against a bright blue sky. With HDR+, you'll be able to capture both the skyscraper and the blue sky, without bits of either washing out because of parts of the image being too bright or too dark.

While the chip exists in current phones, it isn't yet activated, but will be in a future software release.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 aren't the first smartphones to offer HDR support, but Google is trying to make its photos the best using the new processor.

Google said that the Pixel Visual Core will be accessible by camera applications created by other developers, not just the built-in camera app, and that it plans to activate access to the core through software updates "in the coming months."