Pixel 8 and 8a will soon get Gemini Nano, but it should still give you pause

What you need to know

  • Google originally said Gemini Nano wouldn’t come to the Pixel 8 due to “hardware limitations, but reversed course in March. 
  • Now, it is preparing to release Gemini Nano with the June update for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a, and it has already appeared in an update to Android AICore.
  • Although the company figured out a way to get Gemini Nano on the entire Pixel 8 series, it wasn’t a smooth process. 

One thing that became clear at Google I/O is that Google wants to make AI one of Android’s main focuses. There are a handful of Android features that are already available on existing phones with cloud processing, and more are coming with Android 15. However, on-device AI processing is the end goal, and Gemini Nano is the key. Moving crucial AI processes on-device can improve speed and security, among other benefits. That’s why the Google Pixel 8 Pro and the entire Samsung Galaxy S24 shipped with at least a few on-device AI features. 

Google caused a stir when it explained that the Pixel 8 would not get Gemini Nano, the company’s smallest AI model designed for mobile use. At the time, it said that there were “hardware limitations” that prevented the Pixel 8 from running Gemini Nano well. Since both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are powered by the Tensor G3 system-on-a-chip, that may have been perplexing to some. It also came on the heels of Google touting a seven-year software update promise for the Pixel 8 series. 

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