Google Pixel 8 users will miss out on this advanced AI feature — here’s what you need to know

Google Pixel 8 in sand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

A recent developer broadcast has revealed that the Google Pixel 8 will not have access to Gemini Nano, despite it being a feature on the Pixel 8 Pro.

Google recently released the latest episode of #TheAndroidShow, its quarterly round-up about new and upcoming projects. In the episode Terence Zhang, a Developer Relations Engineer at Google, stated that Gemini Nano will not be available on the Google Pixel 8 due to certain hardware limitations. 

Gemini Nano is the lightweight version of Google's recently announced Gemini AI. While it doesn’t allow access to every feature, like Gemini Pro or the upcoming Gemini Ultra, it does offer several advantages to users — as Zhang went on to discuss during a Q&A portion of the video.

One such advantage of Gemini Nano is privacy. This is due to all the inference being done locally on the device, customers can be assured their data won't leak via a cloud-based issue. Also, as there is no round trip to the server, the latency between the request and the data being shown is considerably shorter. 

Google Pixel 8 shown held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Another advantage is that by running on-device, Google Nano is a free service. Zhang explained that running the cost of AI on the cloud is much more expensive than many people realize, which explains why companies like Samsung have discussed plans to raise a paywall for their more advanced AI features. However, removing this connection to the cloud does limit what the AI is capable of.

The biggest weakness of Google Nano however is its reliance on the device's own capabilities to function. That's why the Pixel 8 is unable to use it. This limitation also means that Gemini Nano will always trail behind the more powerful Pro and Ultra options which can draw from external servers.

Currently, we do not know which hardware limitations are keeping Gemini Nano from functioning on the Google Pixel 8. But while the Pixel 8 may not get Nano, it is already capable of AI magic like Best Take photography or Magic Editor generative photo editing. Plus it just received several new AI features in a recent feature drop that are worth checking out, including the Circle to Search function that was premiered on the Galaxy S24 series.

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.