Google Gemini Nano AI is coming to Pixel 8 — here's the new features

Google Pixel 8 shown held in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Late last year Google announced that the Gemini Nano AI would be coming to the Pixel 8 Pro. However, the company also confirmed that the Pixel 8 would not be so lucky, because its hardware couldn’t handle Gemini Nano’s on-device processing. Or so we thought, because Google has seemingly changed its mind.

Google has confirmed that a Gemini Nano developer preview will be arriving as part of the next Pixel Feature Drop. There aren’t a lot of specifics about this right now, but Google confirmed that the AI will be powering two expanded features — Summarize in Recorder and Smart Reply in Gboard. 

Gemini Nano is a light-weight version of Google’s Gemini AI model, and offers on-device AI processing — with no connection to the cloud. Not only does this help preserve user privacy, it also means that the AI features are capable of running without an active internet connection and without any extra costs.

The key problem with on-device AI, though, is that it relies on the phone having the necessary hardware to power it. Google itself also admitted that different memory specs can lead to differing levels of performance. That’s why the Pixel 8 Pro received Nano features last year, while the Pixel 8 needed more testing and validation to be done. 

So with these two features coming to the Pixel 8, it means there’s a little more software parity between the two devices. Which is great news for those of you that opted for the $699 Pixel 8 over the $999 8 Pro.

Unfortunately, this is a developer preview means Gemini Nano will be exclusive to people with Android developer accounts — it won’t be available to the general public just yet. Google may make the AI more widely available at some point in the near future, but clearly there’s still some work that needs to be done before the Pixel 8 is ready for Gemini Nano.

But still, progress is progress, and that hopefully means Gemini Nano will be arriving properly at some point in the next few months. Even if it’s only as a beta version, rather than a stable public release. 

No doubt we’ll be hearing more details about Gemini Nano at Google I/O 2024 in May, presumably alongside news about updates to the cloud-supported Gemini Pro and Ultra.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.