Surprise! Google will let the Pixel 8 run on-device AI after all

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We did it, y’all. We bullied Google into letting the Pixel 8 run on-device AI. Starting with the next Pixel feature drop, the Pixel 8 will use Gemini Nano for a couple of AI features.

Google announced Gemini Nano as its mobile-optimized large language model in December and said it would be a core part of Android in the future — but in its own device lineup, only the Pixel 8 Pro was able to use it. Despite using the same Tensor G3 chipset, the Pixel 8 wasn’t getting on-device AI because of “hardware limitations.” Pixel fans and watchful Android experts asked the same question: what the heck, Google?

The Pixel 8 will get support for Gemini Nano in the next Pixel feature drop as a developer preview, powering on-device recorder summaries and smart replies in Gboard — same as the Pixel 8 Pro. Meanwhile, Samsung started rolling out AI features to its previous-generation flagship phones today. In a blog post earlier this year, Samsung said that this AI feature expansion would utilize both on- and off-device AI. Google’s “hardware limitation” explanation for Gemini Nano’s absence on the Pixel 8 was starting to look pretty shaky.

In any case, a victory is a victory, and I’m pretty sure this one belongs to all of us. Peer pressure works, my friends.

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